What do you think of, when you hear the word leadership?
- Word Origin
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
the position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group:
He managed to maintain his leadership of the party despite heavy opposition.
Online, everyone has the opportunity to be a thought leader. Someone who is an authority on a certain subject can use that status and call themselves an expert. Experts develop influence and, once you become an influencer your digital presence becomes larger, and your success as a business grows.
“Thought Leadership” was the first part of this week’s lesson. We learned about becoming the go-to person for your business. The question isn’t if you have the expertise to offer, but rather what expertise do you have? (Crensha, 2012)
You begin by coming up with three talents:
-What are you good at?
-What do you love doing?
-Where have you developed skills?
Then think of your MVA, your most valuable asset, and that is the skill you will likely get paid the most for. Now, compare it with your three talents and see where the commonality is, look for matches. It is these matches that will hopefully define your level and area of expertise. It also helps to have a mentor. Over my career, I can safely say, I have had four, possibly five mentors. I have always searched for people I thought might have something I could learn, and it has helped me.
The first part of “Thought Leadership”, was how to become a leader within your own company. One of the suggestions was becoming a systems expert. One of the key’s to being a leader is knowing a system well, and being able to teach it to other employees. You become more valuable, enjoying greater success within the company.
They suggest documenting the system through a series of questions; what, why, who, when and how much? I am not going to explain this in great depth because it feels quite self-explanatory. It’s an interesting concept, but since I am the only person in my company I have a hard time seeing the relevance to me. I can see the logic though. Being an expert in your company, will not only give you more job satisfaction, but it will also give you more job security.
The next part is up my alley, “Building Authority in Public.” So, how do you build authority in public? How do you become an expert? Are you one, because you say you are? Not really, you need to prove it. Build a following and go from there. Some suggestions to build a following; review products or services you are familiar with, actively comment on other blogs, do a blog, podcast or video, learn more and earn certifications.
Build social networks, if you build then you will be perceived as the leader. This is what I do with my many film pages.
It was also suggested to create offline social networks. What is an offline social network? Oh, wait, yeah, it’s coming back…this is when you hung out and talk to people over coffee! Eeeew, that now seems so barbaric, so 2001.
Up to this point, everything I have talked about is your ladder to success. Each rung is what you have done to push yourself to an end result, becoming an authority. You also need to create what they call a library, which is a resource of your own material that you can share. Plan to write articles, do videos, maybe a book. These are materials you share, that demonstrate your knowledge.
Their use becomes tangible evidence of expertise or as I see it, “Your Dudeness!”
You want to be sought out for your information, for the things you know; you will become a Thought Leader. You will have much more credibility, which in turn, makes you more valuable in the digital world.
The next part of the lesson was a chapter from the book “Groundswell,” called “The Groundswell Inside your Company.”
Large companies tend to be top down when it comes to corporate communications. A few companies have worked at harnessing the power of the groundswell within their organizations. In a nutshell, they have designed systems to be able to hear employee’s ideas and complaints, all the while empowering them to not only contribute but become brand ambassadors.
Best Buy built a listening group called “Blue Shirt Nation.” All employees can contribute ideas and discuss problems with the company. Two marketing folks rolled it out grassroots, by first visiting stores and setting up meetings, where they would get employees comfortable with contributing. When they launched the website, employees jumped on board. These contributions not only came up with great ideas and solved problems, it also identified the thought leaders and rewarded them with promotions. Ultimately, when an employee feels that they and their thoughts are valued, they will become even more committed to company success.
One of the largest interactive agencies in the world razorfish, used Wikis to tap into the corporate groundswell.
- Word Origin
noun, plural wikis.
- (sometimes initial capital letter) a website that allows anyone to add,delete, or revise content by using a web browser.
The CEO, just before Christmas blogged about his favourite guitar solo, it was a random non-business comment. Before long, the employees were responding to this with their thoughts. The idea is to empower employees, letting them know they could reach out and talk to the CEO, in a very human way. This empowerment allowed them to respond to blogs, write blogs, and it totally turned the top-down communication model, to a top down and back up again one.
Bell Canada, inspired by the show “American Idol,” developed a website called “ID-ah!” Employees were invited to submit ideas to better the company, and these were then voted on by other employees. And some of their ideas were implemented. It is this type of interconnectivity that the groundswell craves, so why not imbrace it and succed because of it.
I am a team leader on a film set and run the ship, but I never forget that film is a collaborative process, and any suggestion could be a good one so I listen to everyone.
As my course winds down, I am starting to see the interconnectivity of everything digital, and it all starts with social listening.
I have one more lesson next week and it is called “Social Media Marketing ROI!”
Till next week!
Bailey, F. J. (n.d.). Frank James Bailey voice over blog.
Barron, B. (n.d.). How to establish yourself as an industry thought leard with wordpress.
Bernoff, C. L. (2011). The groundswell inside your company. In C. L. Bernoffr, Groundswell (pp. 233-249). Boston: Harvard Business School Publishin.
Crensha, D. (2012, 9 5). “Thought Leadership”. Retrieved 11 30, 2017, from Lynda.com: Lynda.com
Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from Dictionary.com: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/leadership?s=t
Generator, M. (n.d.). Sam Elliot/Big Lebowski.