Are you ready to be a thought leader but finding it a little lonely on your own? Over the last 10 years, I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of leaders on their journey to become thought leaders and what I've discovered is that often the journey takes longer than we expect AND it goes more smoothly with both commitment and support.
In 2016 and 2017, I had the opportunity to teach an MBA class about thought leadership at Stanford and during the course we assigned students to join a thought leadership circle -- a tribe of 3 or 4 others who could support their efforts. Each participant in the circle was pursuing their own thought leadership topic and assignments, but they came together to strengthen each others' ideas, hone their own and each others' arguments and critique and improve each others' writing and presentations.
By the end of the course, I was amazed to see how far they had progressed -- much further than many of my individual clients. When I asked the students to what they attributed their success, they spoke about the "safe space" that they had found in their circle, the great insights they had gained from their tribe-mates and the inspiration of watching the others make progress on their efforts.
That inspired me to think about how I could extend thought leadership circles outside of the classroom. Every few months, I launch a virtual thought leadership group. We have regular Zoom meetings during which I share my expertise with all of the participants, and we use my book, Ready to Be a Thought Leader? as the text along with other readings, podcasts and videos. There are homework assignments that you share with me and each member of the group can choose to be assigned to a thought leadership circle of 3 or 4 others who are also working to progress on their thought leadership journey.
Who should participate? If you have already selected an area for thought leadership where you have some credibility and expertise and if you have an initiative underway in your organization, community or beyond that you'd like to spread the word about, then you are likely ready to join a thought leadership circle. The next step is to complete the questionnaireor keep reading for more details.
What is required? Are you ready to commit to attend regular Zoom meetings with the group and complete assignments (ex: write a blog, OpEd, speech, create a video, etc.) and readings? Will you agree to review and comment on others' work (blog, video, etc.), be a cheerleader for your tribe-mates and hold yourself and others accountable? Are you ready to have some fun while making progress on your own thought leadership goals? Will you give feedback during and at the end of our meetings about what worked and didn't work for you? Then you are just the right person to participate!
How long and how much? Each group meets for regular sessions over a few months. There are learning sessions (Zoom meetings) during which I'll share lots of information about thought leadership, best practices in moving your own thought leadership forward most effectively, and case studies of other thought leaders. Then there additional sessions where I'll take your questions about your progress, deep diving when possible to assure you are on the right track.
There will be also be readings and assignments focused on getting in action around your thought leadership. I'll also provide access to some videos and other content about the specific steps of thought leadership that you can refer to as needed.
Tribes (which are optional) will set their own schedule of calls but will be expected to review and comment on each others' assignments between sessions. I'll even provide a form you can use to assure you provide helpful feedback.
I'm not sure I'm qualified to participate: Don't count yourself out just yet. It's not required that you have already established yourself as a thought leader to participate. I believe that many more people have the potential to be thought leaders and that's why I'm leading these programs. If you are committed to effect change in your organization, industry, or around a cause you care about and if you have some efforts underway to bring about real change, then you likely qualify. This could be creating a new process or program in your company, leading a team or organization that is reshaping the way things have always been done, or leading change around an important cause in your community. If you have formulated and tested a new idea, program or initiative, but haven't yet made a lot of progress in scaling your impact, then please come along!
I have a lot on my plate: We are all busy, I get that. But isn't it on your to do list to be more influential, make a bigger impact, or move the needle about that cause you care about? Then this program is for you.
If you are really concerned about your schedule, then let me know and I can alert you to the next session when it becomes available.
What is included? In addition to the regular group sessions, you'll have access to worksheets, videos and other content that I've developed and use with my clients. If you miss a call, they will be recorded for later playback. You'll also have your "tribe" -- a group of committed colleagues to help you stay on track and achieving your goals. I will also provide feedback on at least one piece of content you complete (speech, presentation, video, blog, OpEd) during the program -- you get to choose what to submit and when.
In the Thought Leadership Manifesto, I share 12 strategies to secure the support of influencers and empower them to amplify your message. To get your copy, sign up for the email newsletter below.
Do you hope to build lasting change and a legacy that matters? Then maybe it's time to become a thought leader. Thought leaders are recognized for their ideas and their contributions to the world. They share their expertise and engage a community of followers—while enhancing their own reputations in their fields. ENROLL IN our new ONLINE thought leadership class on LinkedIn learning.