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Leveraging Thought Leadership

Mar 17, 2022

What if you could change fields - without losing the relationships you'd made at your current organization?

Many thought leaders start their careers working for an organization or company. Some begin by writing about culture, leadership, and developing content for the organization, or, thought leadership may be a passion that they follow on their own time. But what do you do when you're ready to take on thought leadership as a full-time practice? Do you have to abandon the relationships you've made in your career?


Our guest in today's episode is Dan Pontefract. Dan is a TedX speaker, and author of two really special books; Lead Care Win: How to Become a Leader Who Matters, and Open to Think: Slow Down, Think Creatively, and Make Better Decisions. He is also the Founder and CEO of the Pontefract Group, a firm that aims to improve the state of leadership and organizational culture.

Dan talks about what it was like to start his thought leadership career as the Chief Learning Officer at Telus, while writing a personal blog on culture, leadership and learning. From there, he began writing for the leadership channel at Forbes, and sharing his ideas through keynote speaking. When Dan felt his role as CLO had reached its natural peak, he proposed a partnership with Telus. He created an external consulting business, focusing on sharing the same culture changes he'd achieved with Telus - and his thought leadership took off!

Dan shares how he navigated being a public thought leader while working at an organization; how he navigated that relationship; and how he worked with Telus when he was ready to expand beyond their interests. He kept the relationships he made at Telus, and expanded beyond them - while not losing the connections he'd already made.

If you're a thought leader who wants to move from working in an organization to developing your own firm, Dan's insights will prove invaluable. Be sure to listen in!

Three Key Takeaways:

  • It is possible for a thought leader of a company to have a public profile. However, you should ensure that the public persona does not develop at the expense of your internal work.
  • If you have a good working relationship with a company, there is no need to separate as your career advances. Find ways to keep the relationship mutually beneficial.
  • Writing thought leadership for a personal blog can be a gateway to writing for larger publications, or even getting a publishing deal.