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Leveraging Thought Leadership

Apr 14, 2022

Ever thought you'd found the best solution - only to discover in a few years (or a few months!) that the solution was unsustainable?

The truth is that management solutions are complex, and sometimes our answers only complicate the original challenge.

We’ve turned to one of the grandfathers of thought leadership, Art Kleiner, to address this difficult issue. Art is a recognized expert on management thinking, thought leadership, organizational learning, and scenario planning. He's the Principal Consultant at Kleiner Powell International (KPI), and the author of a number of books including Who Really Matters: The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Success and The Age of Heretics: A History of the Radical Thinkers Who Reinvented Corporate Management.

Art shares stories of a time when business knowledge was universally applied, leading to a range of difficulties with every new application. Leaders wanted "the one right way" to run a business, not realizing that business isn't a one-size-fits-all scenario. Eventually, thousands of people started offering simpler solutions to complex problems, each expressing the way they'd addressed the challenges. This created a new problemL hundreds of answers, and no way to tell which would be the right fit for any individual organization.

Management problems have become more complex than ever, and leaders now face the difficulties of employees who struggle to deal with the global pandemic, radical  changes to the workplace, and a much higher standard of responsibility. All of this adds up to the need for thought leaders who can be part of the community and who speak directly to employees with open eyes and empathetic understanding.

We wrap up the conversation by discussing why it is much harder to build an audience today. The technology to reach thousands of people actually causes part of the challenge, creating fragmented audiences scattered across various platforms. In order to build your audience, you have to show up on a regular basis, find a way to connect with them, and share simple ideas that bring about complex changes.

This conversation is filled with great advice for managers and leaders seeking to better understand the complications of their position.

Three Key Takeaways:

  • Thought leaders get a lot of return from being an active part of the community they wish to serve.
  • Clients are seeking a connection that feels real. They want someone who speaks from experience, and doesn't just peddle a quick solution.
  • Different audiences prefer different media. Some might want to read short blurbs, others listen to a podcast, and a third group might prefer video. Thought leaders must connect with audiences in the manner they prefer.