2022 Thought leader is a vague job, but it still carries great responsibility


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Jenny Petty is vice chairman for advertising and marketing and communications on the College of Montana. Teresa Valerio Parrot is founder and principal of TVP Communications.

Jenny Petty stands with her arms folded.

Jenny Petty

Courtesy of College of Montana


When you take into account your self a thought chief or if others look to you for experience on the convention stage, in podcasts, or in written phrase, you have got an undefined and ambiguous position that’s nonetheless extremely useful when achieved with foresight and accountability.

The position comes with skilled tasks.

Many individuals understand how essential — and highly effective — thought management platforms will be in increased training, however it may be unclear finest method them. By sharing your concepts with the general public, you counsel they’re worthy of colleagues’ consideration for themselves, their groups and their establishments, and that the content material and any recommendation you present is sound. Due to this fact, it’s important to carry out due diligence with fact-checking particulars and to determine dangerous actors prematurely. This ensures you’re not making your self too weak or misaligning your values, experience or establishment.

Teresa Valerio Parrot

Teresa Valerio Parrot

Permission granted by TVP Communications


Whereas some media retailers embody editorial evaluation of thought management content material, others — together with respected nationwide retailers — don’t have that very same stage of evaluation or accountability. There are even alternatives during which people will pay to be thought leaders in marquee publications. The truth that a possibility is paid doesn’t make it inherently dangerous, however it does add one other layer of threat when lots of these alternatives don’t embody a evaluation that will flag questionable content material.

Primarily based on the proliferation of thought leaders and thought management areas prior to now few years, we have now suggestions for increased ed leaders who contribute to skilled conversations and those that evaluation content material created by their friends and mentors.

Be simple along with your recommendation. If in case you have recommendation or suggestions, say it clearly and embody depth and particulars. Even higher, again up your knowledgeable opinion with knowledge or proof each time doable. Your thought management platform isn’t the place for imprecise, fortune cookie language that enables the viewers to interpret as they see match.

Readability can stop your viewers from misunderstanding your intent after which have them broadcasting that misinterpretation additional, which could lead others to be extra weak somewhat than stronger.

Be aware of your intentions. We encourage you to make use of your voice to assist others and advance your occupation. This implies focusing content material in your experience, experiences and professionalism. Authenticity is critically essential for rising your viewers long run on any platform. Thus, we discourage saying one thing purely for shock worth that isn’t aligned with who you’re or what you consider.

That op-ed, Twitter thread or listserv remark might garner short-term consideration and drive likes and shares, however when you categorical that concept it could stay with you longer than you propose. In case your remark was shared as a joke, keep in mind that humor hardly ever interprets nicely in thought management and is finest edited out.

Share your experience and carry others up. In increased training, being scholarly means contributing to current work or creating new work — and we apply the identical requirements to our thought management contributions. Together with your writing and feedback, you possibly can transfer past parroting current concepts and as a substitute personal your ideas and supply skilled contributions to your business.

When you do reference the experience and concepts of your colleagues, you should definitely credit score them for his or her contributions to the sector. It’s the suitable factor to do, and it permits you to determine them as somebody to community with. It could additionally result in alternatives of their very own.

Contemplate the ramifications of your recommendation. After we provide recommendation or an opinion, we’re drawing on our personal experiences, and people is probably not relevant to our complete viewers or each state of affairs. Our suggestions and name to motion might not match on each campus, and we have to take into account the fallout earlier than we provide blanket “must-do” steering. Whereas we all know, or a minimum of hope, that our colleagues will carry out their due diligence earlier than implementing others’ recommendation, in some cases, there might be severe authorized penalties for people who implement steering. Giving poor recommendation can diminish the political and social capital of those that implement your steering, which fares poorly for each of you.

Perceive social media gives unmoderated choices for sharing your experience and ideas. We perceive the balancing act all of us carry out on social media as we attempt to preserve the equilibrium between our private {and professional} lives. And we like to think about ourselves as humorous on-line, too. However we shift away from a simple joke as soon as we all know we’re being hunted for our experience outdoors of social media.


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