I had a great evening meeting a good friend at a local Italian restaurant to discuss thought leadership over a cup of espresso. My friend, one of the smartest people I know, has been leading a global effort in a fortune 100 bank to create a unified view of their clients. There are already three separate groups who consolidate this information today but the management still lacks a holistic picture. My friend proposed a process to foster collaboration among these groups to publish a holistic dashboard for the management. Is it thought leadership?
Yes, it is thought leadership. Anytime one thinks beyond the box it is thought leadership. Sounds simple, maybe not! The story of a modern employee is to douse daily fires which occur more often than expected. Most of us plan our day in the morning but end it after exhaustive long hours with an untouched to-do list. So where is the time to think beyond and take on more? Still there are folks who can successfully do it and become our role models. They have mastered the act of aligning their daily fires with strategic initiatives. It might be as simple as creating a template instead of a static excel sheet or writing an FAQ instead of answering in an email. Small steps many times over translate into a great journey. It is the crux of thought leadership. So next time when you are pulled into yet another unplanned but crucial meeting think how you can make the best of it and bring out the thought leader inside you.
The espresso was stimulating and so was our conversation. Thanks to my friend for an insightful discussion and of course for picking the tab. This blog post – my tiny step towards thought leadership!