The challenges and complexities of 2020 have been a good reminder that future outlooks can change dramatically with unforeseen situations. The same is true for many of our annual goals, the things we plan to do more or less of, and the outcomes we want to achieve.
We can, however, control our aspirations and commitments. If unexpected circumstances arise, we can still stay true to those commitments, even as we make necessary adjustments to the way we work. We can still find ways to better the world in line with our belief systems and values.
As a thought leadership strategist for financial services and fintech clients, here’s my list of things I want to commit to making and doing better.
Many companies, by default, come to believe that their communications should use an official corporate voice. This voice may not be well suited to effective and authentic thought leadership. While corporate voice has its place, excessive enforcement of corporate voice can cause thought leadership to ring false. It’s better to thought leaders the right combination of guidance and latitude, coupled with the right combination of support and review, as a way to help them communicate authentically while adding depth and nuance to your campaign.
Focusing only on industry knowledge can inadvertently become a limiting factor for your reach as a thought leader. Reading widely in many disciplines and genres helps you complement your depth with the necessary breadth. It makes you a better writer, a clearer speaker, and a more fluent communicator. It gives you a broader sense of how to think through a set of issues and articulate a point of view on them. And, finally, it adds to your toolkit for persuading and connecting with audiences. Here’s what other genres or reading can give you.
To make thought leadership work as an effective component of a company’s marketing strategy, companies need to ensure that individual thought leaders have the resources to succeed and thrive. Thought leaders invest a lot of their personal energy and time in their expertise. Companies must reciprocate by making it as easy as possible for thought leaders to get traction. Whether these support mechanisms reside within marketing, communications, or some hybrid of the two, they are all critical to unlocking the marketing benefits of thought leadership.
Can one person go on an executive retreat? Absolutely! Setting aside dedicated time to think through your vision and strategy makes sense no matter what your role may be. Taking an executive retreat for yourself can be an excellent year-end activity as you start to consider what will define success in the year ahead. Your strategy sets the contours for action, for change, and for why and how you respond to what happens. Just as with companies and other organizations, Company You needs a reliable mechanism for creating that strategy. The executive retreat approach accomplishes just that. Follow this six-step process to set aside time and ask yourself the questions you should be asking.