How to become a thought leader
Technology is moving much faster than many of our institutions – while it continues to change the way people interact with businesses, many corporate leaders are still operating as if it didn’t exist, says Thought Leader Architect Mitchell Levy.
“There are countless corporate leaders who do not recognize how today’s shopper is different from yesterday’s,” says Levy, author of “#Creating Thought Leaders Tweet,” (www.thinkaha.com/experts2gurus).
“Today’s customers often become well-informed about products available to them even before companies have had a chance to reach out to them. They’ve made tech tools, from social media to mobile apps, an intimate part of their daily lives; the corporate leaders who have not done this often don’t understand the new ways people are learning about and using – or not using – their products.”
Corporate leaders can remedy that by becoming thought leaders, both within their businesses and beyond the corporate walls, and filling their ranks with thought leaders, Levy says.
“They need to become the voices that customers and industry peers turn to for expert advice, the voices that influence customer and industry decision-making,” Levy says.
Anyone with expertise in their industry can do that with two core essential tools: a book they’ve authored, and social media.
Levy identifies four nuggets management should keep in mind:
• Make sure you are getting the right H.E.L.P.:This is an acronym Levy uses when evaluating a company; it stands for Healthy following, Execute well, Leadership and Proven platform. A healthy following means overall respect and esteem, both from colleagues in an industry and from customers. Increasing visibility online, utilizing social media platforms, blogs, search engine optimization (SEO) all contribute. Execute well and leadership are self-explanatory. "P" involves utilizing a marketing platform that allows you to reach your intended audience.
• The world seeks brands.People listen to and buy from people they know, like and trust: As consumers ourselves, we all are familiar with the visceral reaction we have to strong brands, everything from the Apple logo to our favorite paper towels at the local grocery store. Building your brand involves making sure that you’re recognized in multi-sensory ways, and that customers associate what they hear, see and read with a very high rate of customer satisfaction. This means establishing a visual and interactive presence, and addressing any customer dissatisfaction.
• There is one reason thought leaders make it look so easy:they work at it all day, every day: Speaking of Apple, it would be an understatement to call the late Steve Jobs a perfectionist. The man who said, “My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better,” was never one to assume good things will happen on their own. Likewise, if an organization is to be at or near its best, leaders need to be “on it” 24/7 – knowing what to focus on and what to ignore.
• Thought leaders create trends and influence the industry:In business as in most areas of life, there are innovative leaders and those who follow them. The perceived brilliance of an idea is not just in how good it is, but in how bold it comes across. Of course, a bad idea will show itself in time. A leader cannot be afraid of stating his or her position clearly, or of thinking outside the box.
Mitchell Levy, Thought Leader Architect and CEO at THiNKaha, has created and operated 15 firms and partnerships since 1997. Today, he works with companies who are active in social media to leverage their IP and unlock the expertise of the employee base to drive more business. He is an Amazon best-selling author with eighteen business books including the recently released #Creating Thought Leaders Tweet. He has an extensive network, which he taps into to drive success for those around him. Levy is a frequent media guest and a popular speaker. In addition to the companies and joint ventures he has started, he has provided strategic consulting to over 100 companies, has advised over 500 CEOs on critical business issues through the CEO networking groups he's run, and has been Chairman of the Board of a NASDAQ listed company.