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Thought Leader: 7-Step Framework Cheat Sheet by

Thought Leader: 7-Step Framework
framework     leadership     thought     7-step

Introd­uction

Are you ready to expand your influence, increase your profes­sional success, have an impact far beyond a single organi­zation and industry, and ultimately leave a legacy that matters? Then you are ready to be a thought leader. Below is the 7-step framework outlined in Ready to Be a Thought Leader? that will help you make your own journey from leader to thought leader

Step 1: Find Your Driving Passion

Thought leadership starts with focus and passion. You will be far more effective if you identify the one arena where your interests, expertise, credib­ility and commitment align –- your "­thought leadership inters­ection point."­ Next, you will craft a clear What If? future, a possible future that you are committed to bring about. When you identify and align to key trends you will gain momentum and be well on your way to make a signif­icant difference not only in your company or community but across your industry or niche.

Step 2: Build Your Ripples of Influence

To build your first ripples of change, you’ll test your ideas and opinions (often not yet fully baked) with knowle­dgeable stakeh­olders –- collea­gues, mentors and friends –- gather their input, and contin­ually refine your thinking. By listening to what resonates, you will distill many different points of view into the kernel of a transf­orm­ative idea that will bring about the What If? future you envision. Those conver­sations will also inform you how to position and leverage your message to tell a bigger story that gets your first followers on board.

Step 3: Activate Your Advocates

To expand your influence beyond your existing team or organi­zation will require that you attract supporters and well-c­onn­ected advocates –- community leaders, industry spokes­people, analysts, journa­lists, research groups or national partners – who can champion your product, program, initiative or idea to a much broader set of audiences. By articu­lating what’s in it for them, you'll create real momentum for change and move your message out of the reach of naysayers, the people determined to stop any transf­orm­ation in its tracks.

Step 4: Activate Your Advocates

To expand your influence beyond your existing team or organi­zation will require that you attract supporters and well-c­onn­ected advocates –- community leaders, industry spokes­people, analysts, journa­lists, research groups or national partners – who can champion your product, program, initiative or idea to a much broader set of audiences. By articu­lating what’s in it for them, you'll create real momentum for change and move your message out of the reach of naysayers, the people determined to stop any transf­orm­ation in its tracks.
 

Thought Leader

Step 5: Put Your "­I" on the Line

To build sustai­nable momentum for a new idea requires someone to show the way, someone willing to step into the limelight and say "­follow me." To do this, you must be willing to "put your ‘I’ on the line" --- overcoming any self-i­mposed limits to standing front and center and risking your reputation to espouse a new direction or vision of the future, often long before others agree with your point of view.

Step 6: Codify Your Lessons Learned

The essential difference between leaders and thought leaders is often the latter’s ability to distill their know how into a replicable model so that others can be inspired and empowered to expand on what those leaders have accomp­lished. To codify your ideas will require that you test and refine a repeatable and scalable blueprint for others who want to follow in your footsteps

Step 7: Put Yourself on S.H.O.U.T.

To increase your credib­ility, strategic visibility and reputation and gain recogn­ition as a thought leader, you need to "put yourself on SHOUT" – get the word out about your activi­ties, efforts and lessons learned. You’re not a thought leader if no one knows anything about you or what you’ve accomp­lished. You need to both be "­dis­cov­era­ble­" and connect with those who can build on your ideas.

Step 8: Incite (R)Evo­lution

Has the transf­orm­ation you’ve envisioned and worked towards begun to take hold? Now it's time to audit your progress to ensure that you gain traction for your ideas locally, region­ally, nationally and even intern­ati­onally. As you accelerate and amplify your voice, you’ll increase your influence, expand your impact and build a sustai­nable community of followers that will carry forward your efforts. Having followers will help you to prevent burnout as you bring about the evolut­ionary and even revolu­tionary change that will be your legacy.

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