It's Actually A Great Time To Share Your Thought Leadership
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
In my last email, I covered how to stay strong when everyone is panicking. If you're like me, you've taken some time to adjust to a new normal and are now looking for the actions you can take that would be helpful for your company, community and career in light of our current situation.
This is the last in a five-part series on the Promotability Index™. (Check out our prior issues on Self-Awareness, External Awareness, Strategic Thinking, and Executive Presence.) I hope you’ve found this information valuable for planning your career and helping your teams, whether you have taken the assessment or not. It’s a good time to take it and apply these segment breakdowns to your score. Many thanks to those of you who have written in and shared your learnings and feedback.
One client wrote me to say: “I shared with my team and within days, I’ve noticed we are using a shared language about promotability. You've provided an extremely valuable tool to help evaluate how we are all doing by measures that are often unspoken. I am adding this to our annual performance and career pathing discussions.”
Today we are going to focus on Thought Leadership– the last of the five key leadership elements that help you get promoted.
It’s rewarding, both professionally and personally, to be known as an expert. Thought leadership establishes your identity as a contributor, someone who is forward-thinking and influential in your domain expertise. Thought leadership also leads to tangible rewards. Done well, your professional currency rises, because your skills are marketable, your network is strong, and speaking and other professional engagement opportunities come more easily.
Three Key Things You Can Do To Enhance Your Thought Leadership
Know your niche and WRITE about it. Understand the expertise you possess that others find valuable and start writing about it. Share your expertise inside your company as well as externally with professional publications, LinkedIn, and other relevant platforms. Connect on social platforms with experts in your field and offer valuable insight and support. This will also help you build your network.
Step up and LEAD in your professional community. Take on a leadership role in one of your industry associations, speak at conferences, guest lecture at a university, and participate in research opportunities. This enables you to benchmark and bring back real-time data, insights and trends to your executive team as the expert in your field. Your professional community is a condensed center of knowledge and influence you can tap into and help grow. (One thing to keep in mind: while working as a corporate exec, it’s important to navigate any approvals process for thought leadership. For high-profile activities (like podcasting, blogging or keynote speaking), do some preplanning -- ask yourself, if you were the company, would you have any concerns? Would it pose a potential conflict of interest between your interests and those of your company? Any risk to the corporate brand? Sensitive or non-public information that you should run by legal or PR?)
INITIATE or lead a corporate-wide initiative. Every company needs leaders to step up for work beyond their job description in order to innovate and grow. The benefits of seeking an opportunity to lead a special project team have a multiplier-effect on your being viewed as a thought leader dedicated to the success of the entire organization. You gain visibility and strategic knowledge outside your functional area, meet and influence key decision-makers, and if your contributions are significant, you may earn the support of a key mentor or sponsor. This cross-functional collaboration exemplifies the mindset expected of C-Suite executives.
My clients’ investments over time in thought leadership yield a compounding effect. These activities will highlight your expertise, groom you for promotion, and accelerate your knowledge.
If you haven’t already, take the Promotability Index™ now, and see how you score on thought leadership. Which checklist items are missing? Where would you like to invest?