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Are you a thought leader?
Episode 718th January 2024 • How to Take the Lead • Lee Griffith and Carrie-Ann Wade
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Should you be a thought leader? WHAT exactly does it mean to be a thought leader? In this week's How to Take the Lead, we discuss our thoughts on this topic, arguing the case for more leaders to talk out about things they're expert in.

We explore:

  • whether anyone can become a thought leader or if it's hierarchical
  • what you need to bring to be a thought leader - and our equation that makes a thought leader
  • how thought leadership can help you as a leader
  • organisational benefits of thought leadership and how to work with your organisation
  • what activities can contribute to thought leadership
  • the role of controversy in thought leadership
  • legacy of thought leadership ideas
  • how you work out where your thought leadership subject lies.

Resources and helpful links

About How to Take the Lead

How to Take the Lead is a show exploring all things leadership.

Every episode we explore a different part of life as a leader, questioning everything we've ever learnt and sharing a few of our own stories along the way.

If you want to learn how to do leadership your own way, join hosts Lee Griffith and Carrie-Ann Wade as they debunk myths, tackle stereotypes and generally put the leadership world to rights.

Get involved

If you enjoyed this episode why not subscribe to the podcast. We would love it if you left us a rating or review and feel free to share the link to this episode with anyone else you think would find it interesting.

If you want to watch this episode, subscribe to our YouTube channel to make sure you don't miss out.

And you can be a part of our Substack community, where you can get extra bonus goodies, network with a community of leaders and get direct access to us both.

We're also over on Instagram for more behind the scenes, news and views.

Plus if you want to work with us to challenge and change leadership in your organisation get in touch by dropping us an email howtotakethelead@gmail.com or DM us on the socials.

Transcripts

Lee Griffith:

Welcome to How to Take the Lead the podcast where

Lee Griffith:

we challenge the myths and stereotypes of what it means to

Lee Griffith:

be a leader today and help you to succeed in post without

Lee Griffith:

compromise. I'm Lee Griffith

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: and I'm Carrie Ann Wade and together we will be

Lee Griffith:

your guide questioning everything we've ever learned

Lee Griffith:

about leadership sharing our experiences along the way and

Lee Griffith:

inspiring you to make a real impact in your role. Visit how

Lee Griffith:

to

Lee Griffith:

take the lead.com For show notes, past episodes

Lee Griffith:

and join our community. Enjoy this episode. Hello, and welcome

Lee Griffith:

back to another episode of how to take the lead Episode Seven.

Lee Griffith:

We are going fast and furious free this well over

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: halfway now. It's scary. Where's the series

Lee Griffith:

go into?

Lee Griffith:

Yeah, I know it is it is flown by like wily coyote

Lee Griffith:

in

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: I honestly sometimes we do these episodes

Lee Griffith:

and I think where are we digging these references out from

Lee Griffith:

somewhere in the darkest depths of our minds? I actually can I

Lee Griffith:

say I was on a meeting earlier and I referenced Joe Pasquali.

Lee Griffith:

The meeting we're like okay, literally

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: bad reference. Sorry, everyone. Coming out from

Lee Griffith:

all over the place.

Lee Griffith:

I don't know where that wily coyote I've literally

Lee Griffith:

haven't probably referenced that in in about 15 years. I used to

Lee Griffith:

like it cartoons so anyway. It just seems to come about maybe

Lee Griffith:

this is like my own Alan Partridge moment. And I like

Lee Griffith:

Chris record and like the cheesy references and the DJ voice and

Lee Griffith:

all of that just come in to DJ voice loving it. Because

Lee Griffith:

obviously I don't really sound like this in real life. I'm I

Lee Griffith:

speak the proper Queen's English.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: And there's never a lism to be found in real

Lee Griffith:

life. Oh, no, or a nice reference. So maybe that's a new

Lee Griffith:

podcast spin off. We could do just good nice references.

Lee Griffith:

Yeah, yeah. Anyway, we digress. Hello to

Lee Griffith:

everyone watching us on YouTube. We are over there. As usual, you

Lee Griffith:

can see us in all our story glory, we've come I promise you

Lee Griffith:

we do not coordinate are out of days. But we so often seem to I

Lee Griffith:

was gonna get one new day am I then about syncing up. But

Lee Griffith:

that's not one day,

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: we will come in the only dress that we both have

Lee Griffith:

the same version of without telling each other and it will

Lee Griffith:

be mortifying, but we'll just have to sit in it for the sake

Lee Griffith:

of our YouTube viewers. Oh,

Lee Griffith:

at least to YouTube, we could go away. But

Lee Griffith:

it's rare. We both turn up for a co working day. And we were in

Lee Griffith:

class that we would really have to pop dance, John Lewis of

Lee Griffith:

other clothing retailers are available. So anyway, we are on

Lee Griffith:

YouTube, we are in your ears through whatever podcast

Lee Griffith:

platform you'd like to listen to your podcasts here. And we're on

Lee Griffith:

top step. And I've been really enjoying the little substack

Lee Griffith:

notes that we send out after each episode, this series

Lee Griffith:

because we put a few little extra bonuses in for people who

Lee Griffith:

are part of our paid community. And it's a good chance people to

Lee Griffith:

add their comments and thoughts and ask questions get our input

Lee Griffith:

into stuff that you're pondering in the leadership world. So

Lee Griffith:

yeah, all the links that you need for whatever it is you're

Lee Griffith:

interested in. Visit how to take lead.com

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: Can I just say I feel like the substack

Lee Griffith:

shownotes with the bonus. Content has become like the new

Lee Griffith:

bonus episode of the podcast. Because we got obsessed with the

Lee Griffith:

bonus apps for a bit and then we don't do them now. But I feel

Lee Griffith:

like all that bonus is good to me. We

Lee Griffith:

don't do that. We literally did one. Yeah, one

Lee Griffith:

Yeah.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: But remember when we started and we did about

Lee Griffith:

like as many bonus episodes as we did actual episodes, like

Lee Griffith:

we're back again. But now I feel like we can channel all that

Lee Griffith:

extra stuff into the sub stack nights, which is quite exciting.

Lee Griffith:

Yeah,

Lee Griffith:

yeah, it's good. It's good, good little spot on.

Lee Griffith:

I mean, I'm really enjoying the blogging vibes of the olden

Lee Griffith:

days. So today's episode, I'm bringing up the word fought

Lee Griffith:

leadership, which we're not about the whole kind of

Lee Griffith:

corporate BS. And this does feel a little bit like we're veering

Lee Griffith:

into I mean, it is a phrase I've used It's a phrase I use with

Lee Griffith:

with other people because sick people seemingly know what it's

Lee Griffith:

about. But it's also one of those ones where you just think

Lee Griffith:

oh before luda

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: well we'll get onto that because he's

Lee Griffith:

determined and a thought leader or not I

Lee Griffith:

said, so we want but it's for all of the thing

Lee Griffith:

about what it's called. I think the stuff that sits underneath

Lee Griffith:

it is really important, which is why we want to tackle it. And I

Lee Griffith:

suppose I want to kick off by saying, if you're Joe Bloggs or

Lee Griffith:

Josefina blogs or J blocks, whoever you might be whatever

Lee Griffith:

you identify us. And can you still be a thought leader? Or is

Lee Griffith:

it something that's the hierarchical thing? Like how do

Lee Griffith:

you define for leadership? was like,

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: Is it just about what said, and you've got,

Lee Griffith:

I don't know where this is going, but I get what you're

Lee Griffith:

saying. Okay, how Yeah, regard

Lee Griffith:

can then can any? Tom, Dick and Harry, yeah.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: So I absolutely think that regardless of what

Lee Griffith:

your role or where you sit in the hierarchy of an

Lee Griffith:

organization, you can definitely be a thought leader. And I

Lee Griffith:

actually think, obviously, we reference healthcare a fair bit

Lee Griffith:

in our conversations, because I still work in it, and you

Lee Griffith:

obviously use it, but I think healthcare is probably a really

Lee Griffith:

good example of where you can have thought leaders who are not

Lee Griffith:

necessarily in kind of senior roles within an organization,

Lee Griffith:

because for me, it's about expertise. It's about the level

Lee Griffith:

of expertise that someone has on a specific subject matter or

Lee Griffith:

topic and the way in which then they can express that and talk

Lee Griffith:

about that and build trust in that space as someone who is the

Lee Griffith:

kind of go to person about X, Y, or Zed say, you know, for

Lee Griffith:

example, I might have people in my organization who are the

Lee Griffith:

experts in, you know, forensic mental health, for women and

Lee Griffith:

stuff, you know, so I just, I don't think you have to be a

Lee Griffith:

leader or a senior person to be a thought leader. So well, that

Lee Griffith:

leader kind of terminologies in there. For me, it definitely

Lee Griffith:

isn't about hierarchy, or what role you're in. It's about your

Lee Griffith:

area of expertise, and then what you might choose to do with that

Lee Griffith:

area of expertise, which I'm sure we'll talk a bit more about

Lee Griffith:

as we go on.

Lee Griffith:

Yeah. Okay. So let me ask you this, then. So if

Lee Griffith:

it's about your area of expertise, or is it about not

Lee Griffith:

what you do have it? Interest, but is it is it just general

Lee Griffith:

interest? Because my, my view, and maybe this is this the

Lee Griffith:

subtleties in how we're approaching the what is thought

Lee Griffith:

leadership is, you can be an expert, but you could be saying

Lee Griffith:

the same thing as 100 other people. For me, a thought leader

Lee Griffith:

is someone who brings something unique in their viewpoint to

Lee Griffith:

that topic. So they can be expert, but bring a different

Lee Griffith:

view, or an insight over and above what you can get through

Lee Griffith:

what everyone else is saying. And for me, it's that married

Lee Griffith:

with the way that person acts in an expose that they execute

Lee Griffith:

their role in a consistent way that that makes them a thought

Lee Griffith:

leader versus an expert in their field.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: Yeah, I guess for me, they the bit is bout and

Lee Griffith:

we might come on to this as we talk through the conversation

Lee Griffith:

there. Well, maybe there doesn't have to be because there are

Lee Griffith:

some examples of where people are positioning themselves as

Lee Griffith:

thought leaders and I think really watching no about

Lee Griffith:

anything. But for me, there has to be a level of expertise or

Lee Griffith:

special interest. That is something that that person is

Lee Griffith:

bringing, it can't just be like, generically about everything in

Lee Griffith:

life for you are a thought leader because they really think

Lee Griffith:

that you are but I do get your point about you know, are you

Lee Griffith:

doing that in an innovative way? For example? Is there a level of

Lee Griffith:

innovation or difference or uniqueness in the way that you

Lee Griffith:

are putting forward your thoughts and opinions and

Lee Griffith:

evidence sometimes of the topic that you are you perceiving

Lee Griffith:

yourself to be an expert in so yeah, I do take I do take your

Lee Griffith:

point there. I don't disagree with Yeah,

Lee Griffith:

I think it is, for me, it's the it's the Are they

Lee Griffith:

helping to contribute different thinking? Are they challenging

Lee Griffith:

other people's thinking on a topic? So there's almost an

Lee Griffith:

equation here now isn't there there's expert plus uniqueness

Lee Griffith:

or different view equals thought leader.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: Yes, there's something for me about some sort

Lee Griffith:

of evidence base or ability to I don't think justifies the right

Lee Griffith:

word, but that your argument for your different view is one that

Lee Griffith:

comes from a sound place and isn't just about having a

Lee Griffith:

different view for having a different view sake.

Lee Griffith:

okay with me so the equation is expert plus

Lee Griffith:

uniqueness over evidence equals thought leadership.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: Do you know what you might have cracked it

Lee Griffith:

if you occasionally I think you're onto something every

Lee Griffith:

everybody is going to be quote in this equation. Now I can feel

Lee Griffith:

it. You're gonna go viral.

Lee Griffith:

Is that me doing 40 Leadership in Action.

Unknown:

Yeah. Oh my god,

Lee Griffith:

we in some ways, like, what's in session type?

Lee Griffith:

being totally meta about our own point. Yeah, I love it. I love.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: I also love that listeners will have heard

Lee Griffith:

it but viewers will have seen at the moment when that equation

Lee Griffith:

came good for you. Yeah.

Lee Griffith:

I was I've recently watched it, I was gonna

Lee Griffith:

do my job. I mean, this is a really old reference as well, my

Lee Griffith:

Johnny ball moment with my piece of paper with it all written

Lee Griffith:

down, because I have actually written down the equation I

Lee Griffith:

could

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: tell. And it was the excitement you crack in

Lee Griffith:

the equation. I'm liking I'm liking that as the equation that

Lee Griffith:

we frame this conversation around and the context for

Lee Griffith:

thought leadership, for sure. Excellent.

Lee Griffith:

I mean, if my husband watches this, he's

Lee Griffith:

someone who, who likes to have a little play with an equation

Lee Griffith:

every now he's probably gonna have a lot to comment on.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: You're not professing to be an expert in

Lee Griffith:

equation. We feel like we've got a good one for the purposes of

Lee Griffith:

what we need it for.

Lee Griffith:

Anyway, bringing it back on, on topic. How does

Lee Griffith:

being a thought leader help you to be a leader?

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: Good question. So I think there's something for

Lee Griffith:

me in this about being positioned as the expert. So we

Lee Griffith:

talked about that expertise. I think there's something there,

Lee Griffith:

then. And this is maybe about the how, which is what you were

Lee Griffith:

talking about, like, what's the difference that you're bringing

Lee Griffith:

in that actually, it can help you to earn trust and build

Lee Griffith:

trust with different groups of people, and earn some level of

Lee Griffith:

respect as a leader who knows what they're talking about, and

Lee Griffith:

is willing maybe to put themselves out there to share

Lee Griffith:

their thinking and their views around something, which I think

Lee Griffith:

is helpful in that trust and respect kind of space. And I

Lee Griffith:

think there's something around helping you to build your

Lee Griffith:

reputation. Yeah, there was an episode we did some time ago now

Lee Griffith:

about reputation management, where we were like, we're not

Lee Griffith:

talking about manipulating things and reputation management

Lee Griffith:

in this style of Malcolm Tucker, but we are talking about, you

Lee Griffith:

know, being a leader, you whether you like it or not, you

Lee Griffith:

will have some sort of reputation that is being built

Lee Griffith:

out there. And actually, being a thought leader, I think helps

Lee Griffith:

you to build that reputation in that space in which you want to

Lee Griffith:

be kind of known. Yeah, I would say, Yeah,

Lee Griffith:

reputation. It helps position your personal

Lee Griffith:

leadership brand. But I think reputation also from an

Lee Griffith:

organizational perspective, and the benefits that that an

Lee Griffith:

organization can gain from your thought leadership shouldn't be

Lee Griffith:

overlooked, because that is part of how they can attract other

Lee Griffith:

people to work there. Because they want to work alongside

Lee Griffith:

people who are doing great things. It's how they can

Lee Griffith:

attract maybe the right customers, or clients or whoever

Lee Griffith:

it is that they're serving, because they want to be at the

Lee Griffith:

cutting edge, or in that space of different thinking. And so

Lee Griffith:

reputation is how you can get more money and investment, how

Lee Griffith:

might it might impact your ratings and performance. So

Lee Griffith:

there's lots of different ways, it can have a really positive

Lee Griffith:

impact on you. And it's a way that you can differentiate

Lee Griffith:

yourself and your organization in that space. And

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: I'm really pleased to put that bit in there

Lee Griffith:

about the organization as well, because I think and this may be

Lee Griffith:

true for some individuals, I think thought leadership can

Lee Griffith:

definitely be kind of pigeon holed into it's about people's

Lee Griffith:

ego, and about, about individuals wanting to, you

Lee Griffith:

know, build their own brand, and all of that kind of stuff. And

Lee Griffith:

actually, for me, the point you made about like it supporting

Lee Griffith:

your reputation, and therefore the reputation of your

Lee Griffith:

organization. For all of those reasons you've said and probably

Lee Griffith:

more, I think is really important kind of factor around

Lee Griffith:

our whole conversation about thought leadership and why it

Lee Griffith:

might be important. Yeah.

Lee Griffith:

So ego is an is an interesting word that you've

Lee Griffith:

brought up. And it leads me to my next area of exploration,

Lee Griffith:

which is, is thought leadership, I suppose is it's something that

Lee Griffith:

you just are and you can say you are? Or is it something that you

Lee Griffith:

can only be by being named by others? So do you have to

Lee Griffith:

actively position yourself as a thought leader? Or do you only

Lee Griffith:

become recognized as one if others define and deem you to be

Lee Griffith:

such?

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: So I think that's an interesting one,

Lee Griffith:

because for me, there's a bit of both in the answer to that

Lee Griffith:

question. So I absolutely think other people have you have to be

Lee Griffith:

somebody Data other people are interested in hearing from and

Lee Griffith:

listening to, and potentially taking action on what you are

Lee Griffith:

saying. So I do think that other people will define you as a

Lee Griffith:

thought leader or not. Obviously, that can be quite a

Lee Griffith:

subjective thing. Because your opinion and the thoughts and

Lee Griffith:

viewpoint that you share will resonate with some people and

Lee Griffith:

not with others. And I'm sure we'll kind of talk a bit more

Lee Griffith:

about what that looks like, a bit later on. But I so I do

Lee Griffith:

think other people will and half do to some degree define you as

Lee Griffith:

a thought leader. That's the you know, the label that we're that

Lee Griffith:

we're going with, but I also think you there is an element of

Lee Griffith:

you positioning yourself as such, because as you quite

Lee Griffith:

rightly pointed out, at the start of the conversation there

Lee Griffith:

absolutely tons of people who are experts in what they do, but

Lee Griffith:

they are not all thought leaders. And often it hasn't

Lee Griffith:

happened by chance that somebody has been defined by someone

Lee Griffith:

else's a thought leader, because they are intentionally and

Lee Griffith:

actively putting themselves out there to share their opinions,

Lee Griffith:

their viewpoints, their thoughts on a certain topic. So I think

Lee Griffith:

you have to be doing it with intent to be able to kind of be

Lee Griffith:

in that space, because otherwise everyone would be a thought

Lee Griffith:

leader who is an expert in a particular field, and they are

Lee Griffith:

definitely not. So I think there is a bit of both happening

Lee Griffith:

there. That kind of ends up in somebody kind of then being in

Lee Griffith:

that position as a thought leader. Yeah.

Lee Griffith:

And you're right about it, the lens in which you

Lee Griffith:

and others are viewing you that can be seen as whether you are

Lee Griffith:

seen as one or not. And I think there was two things that came

Lee Griffith:

to mind as you were talking. One was, there's someone on

Lee Griffith:

Instagram, who

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: say who shall remain nameless, but they will.

Lee Griffith:

But they really wind me up, because they're

Lee Griffith:

constantly talking on the daily about how they're really

Lee Griffith:

different. And they think differently, and they do stuff

Lee Griffith:

differently. And that's part of their USP that they're trying to

Lee Griffith:

sell. But then what they do is what I see about 20 million

Lee Griffith:

other people doing on Instagram, and I can see that they've

Lee Griffith:

basically done all the courses that these other gurus have

Lee Griffith:

done, and then re pedaling it with their own thing. But there

Lee Griffith:

aren't Yeah, I'm doing it differently. And I know I'm so

Lee Griffith:

close so many times just applying again. But are you

Lee Griffith:

really are you really? What's your evidence you do

Lee Griffith:

differently? Because I've just seen so and so's course you're

Lee Griffith:

on, say the same thing.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: I'm going through the formulaic approach

Lee Griffith:

to doing things differently the same way as everyone else. Yeah,

Lee Griffith:

is different. Yeah.

Lee Griffith:

So so there's that thing around that person

Lee Griffith:

absolutely is trying to position themselves as a thought leader,

Lee Griffith:

but in my opinion is bringing nothing new different going back

Lee Griffith:

to our equation. questionable whether they're an expert,

Lee Griffith:

definitely not unique. Not sure I've seen much evidence,

Lee Griffith:

therefore,

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: I am loving the the equation says

Lee Griffith:

my mental images I was doing that was you know, in

Lee Griffith:

Charlie in the Chocolate Factory when they're weighing eggs, and

Lee Griffith:

it's like deciding whether it meets the equation where they go

Lee Griffith:

around the good or bad sheet. That was what was happening. So

Lee Griffith:

going down the bad

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: shoot. A person who shall remain nameless is

Lee Griffith:

shooting down that bad shoot as we speak now, because they've

Lee Griffith:

been through that our equation. Yeah. Equation machine. But

Lee Griffith:

then, on the kind of flip side, I've worked with

Lee Griffith:

leaders in the past, and we've looked at things like for

Lee Griffith:

leadership and what is what is their view? How can they

Lee Griffith:

differentiate themselves, when they're applying for new jobs,

Lee Griffith:

for example, when they're trying to demonstrate and raise the

Lee Griffith:

organizational profile? So it's not necessarily come, you know,

Lee Griffith:

hasn't come from the point of ego but it's come from a point

Lee Griffith:

of how do I build the reputation of this organization in this

Lee Griffith:

great stuff that we do? And we tap into what is what is the

Lee Griffith:

stuff that you're doing that you could talk about confidently and

Lee Griffith:

that is showing that it's a bit different to what everyone else

Lee Griffith:

is doing? And so yeah, it's it's a I've went off on a slight

Lee Griffith:

tangent there I've

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: still got visions of the Charlie and the

Lee Griffith:

Chocolate Factory equation machine

Lee Griffith:

up so here's we're saying it's it's a bit of both

Lee Griffith:

you you need to do a bit of self reflection and recognition of

Lee Griffith:

whether you want to be a thought leader or not. But just you

Lee Griffith:

saying that you are so without these other conditions being

Lee Griffith:

met? Doesn't doesn't make you absolutely and you are more

Lee Griffith:

likely to be a stronger thought leader if other people back you

Lee Griffith:

up and refer to you as such.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: Yes, definitely. Okay, that's a good

Lee Griffith:

summary Lee.

Lee Griffith:

So, organizational positions because We talked

Lee Griffith:

about the organizational benefits of supporting or having

Lee Griffith:

thought leaders within their midst. But is it something that

Lee Griffith:

you should be seeking agreement from, or at least alignment with

Lee Griffith:

an organization when you're starting to develop that thing

Lee Griffith:

that only you think about? I mean, in

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: all honesty, I think if there is organizational

Lee Griffith:

alignment there, then that is clearly going to be much easier.

Lee Griffith:

Yeah, kind of position to be in. And I have to say, I have worked

Lee Griffith:

for organizations, where there has been expert clinicians who

Lee Griffith:

have very strongly held views backed up by research and

Lee Griffith:

evidence, in some cases, about certain maybe clinical things,

Lee Griffith:

treatments or whatever, who are very vocal about that, and a

Lee Griffith:

definitely seen as thought leaders, but his view goes

Lee Griffith:

against maybe the organizational view, because it challenges

Lee Griffith:

perhaps, like NICE guidelines, if we're talking about

Lee Griffith:

healthcare, for example. So it may be challenges, the accepted

Lee Griffith:

view of how things should be done. And that can become really

Lee Griffith:

difficult, because it's, yeah, it's just really hard, isn't it

Lee Griffith:

and marry up the T where organization it's like, well, as

Lee Griffith:

an organization, we're delivering this type of service

Lee Griffith:

or treatment someday, but we have an individual who's well

Lee Griffith:

renowned thought leader who actually says almost the

Lee Griffith:

opposite. And that I'd say that does become a challenge. And

Lee Griffith:

that is quite hard, I think to I don't think there is a balance

Lee Griffith:

to be struck sometimes. But it is just quite hard to operate in

Lee Griffith:

that space. Because obviously, if that thought leader is coming

Lee Griffith:

from a place of expertise with the evidence to back it up, why

Lee Griffith:

should they not be? Yeah, sharing that? So I think

Lee Griffith:

sometimes it might be situational dependent, in terms

Lee Griffith:

of how much risk or you know, how much challenge there might

Lee Griffith:

be in that space. But I do think it is a really tricky one. And

Lee Griffith:

obviously, the benefits for an organization, and the

Lee Griffith:

individual, when there's alignment is probably more

Lee Griffith:

exposure, and more opportunities for that person's viewpoint to

Lee Griffith:

to be out there and influencing and impacting things. Whereas if

Lee Griffith:

there isn't that alignment with the organization, you might feel

Lee Griffith:

like there's a sort of butting of heads a lot of the time which

Lee Griffith:

which, yeah, is difficult.

Lee Griffith:

And we saw that in the pandemic actually didn't, we

Lee Griffith:

were, again, the health sector, but also in other sectors where

Lee Griffith:

there was the the, on anti vaxxers, versus the vaxxers. And

Lee Griffith:

evidence of that, and yeah, just even policies and procedures in

Lee Griffith:

the health service and whether people agree to it or not.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: And the view of the scientists and the health

Lee Griffith:

care professionals sometimes not always align them, but more

Lee Griffith:

often than not them aligning, but the views of government

Lee Griffith:

being quite different. So, you know, and there is always a

Lee Griffith:

space isn't there for constructive challenge. So I'm

Lee Griffith:

not saying everything should always be in a space where

Lee Griffith:

everyone agrees. But I think just depending on the topic, it

Lee Griffith:

can potentially be more challenging if there isn't that

Lee Griffith:

alignment there with the organization. But it will depend

Lee Griffith:

on how the organization chooses to react to that, I think,

Lee Griffith:

because if you're in an organization who is quite open

Lee Griffith:

minded, and about learning and growth and development, and is

Lee Griffith:

maybe in in a position where they feel better able to take

Lee Griffith:

risks, they're probably going to be less upset by having a

Lee Griffith:

thought leader in their midst that thinks something slightly

Lee Griffith:

different to them than an organization who is perhaps

Lee Griffith:

maybe not in that space and not as forward thinking and who

Lee Griffith:

would see it all as a kind of, you know, issue to be managed

Lee Griffith:

rather than something to maybe flex and roll with. Yeah.

Lee Griffith:

So we're saying we don't think it's it's not

Lee Griffith:

imperative that you get organizational sign off. It may

Lee Griffith:

be wise, if you think that particularly from a media

Lee Griffith:

reputational point of view that there's likely to be something

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of interest. And of course, organizations may wish to use it

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for their own benefit as well. And therefore, we'd be keen to

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help support promote your views and the views to claim them as

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their own as such.

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Carrie-Ann Wade: Claim who is one of their own, at least if

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they can't claim the views as their own?

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Yeah, yeah. So I think there is something about

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particularly if you're going into maybe a more public

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platform, and I don't just mean, traditional media, but if you're

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sitting up online, you're writing publishing papers, you

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might be doing a podcast you might be actually this is a

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really good tangent, but you are someone who works for an

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organization. You talk about leadership stuff outside of

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being in an organization, you run this podcast, you have

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another podcast, you do events and whatnot, where you talk

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about your views on the leadership world. Have you

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married that with your kind of organization? Should your

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positioning and your professional positioning.

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Carrie-Ann Wade: So I would say first step that I've been really

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transparent about the fact that I do it. So I'm not trying to

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hide it, which would be ridiculous to do. And because I

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share it everywhere, round out that would be a bit awkward. But

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um, so So I think there's something about being upfront

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about that, I think the things that I talk about in terms of my

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leadership experience, are fully aligned to my own values and my

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own thinking around leadership. So I feel like I'm acting with

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integrity, because I would like to think as much as humanly

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possible. The conversations I have with you on this podcast,

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for example, would reflect the way I would operate as a leader

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in my organization. Now, if my organization has got an issue

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with the way that I operate as a leader, then I think that's

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probably the thing for them to address more so than the

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conversations I'm having in this space and in other spaces

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publicly. And it has been an interesting kind of ride to be

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on to be honest with you, because I've had a chief

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executive who I've worked for Chief Executive, he's been quite

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impressed that I've taken the time to put myself out there and

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do all of this stuff on top of what I do as a leader in my

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organization, and seen it as a good thing for the organization.

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Because if I'm getting invited to talk about this topic, I

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might well also say that I'm a leader for my organization, and

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that's good for them to get them some coverage. I've worked for a

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chief executive who has been even more proactive and shared

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some of my thinking and my comments in the public sphere

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around leadership, but probably because our leadership values

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and behaviors aligned. So it resonated with them. So, you

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know, I think in the early days, I probably was a bit more

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nervous about it, because but it was probably more being nervous

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about putting myself out there, rather than what's my

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organization going to think I think it was more of an extra

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extra cent echo can't say the word crisis about what is anyone

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gonna think? And why would they think that I've got something

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worth listening to, to, you know, in this space, but sort of

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as your confidence grows, and you do it more? Yeah, I remember

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you and I aged, I've kind of got into that space of like, this is

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what I think taking big fear with you. I'm only saying it

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based on my own experiences. And I'm not professing to be an

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expert in anything in particular, but this is a topic

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that really interests me that I feel like I've got something

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valuable to say about

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obviously, you wouldn't you wouldn't meet our

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equation, then. I

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Carrie-Ann Wade: wouldn't know. But I've never professed to be a

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thought leader. So. So yeah, absolutely. And I don't know if

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anybody else would ever think I was one either. So.

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So we've we've touched on this a few times

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about the the it's made it into the equation, this uniqueness,

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this different way of thinking. So we know Thought Leadership

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isn't about just parroting the views of everybody else are

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saying the same stuff as everyone else, you're just an

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amplifier of someone else's fault leadership in doing that,

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some people mistake that as thinking, I must be

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controversial, or put the cat amongst the pigeons team to be

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heard and to make my view difference in order to be

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positioned in this way. So I'm interested in your views on

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being purposefully and intentionally controversial, as

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a way to be that differentiator.

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Carrie-Ann Wade: So there is something for me around don't

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just say something to provoke a reaction. So I can see there

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might be a desire to be intentional in sort of being

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controversial and being different. But if you're just

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doing it for doing it sake, then I don't think that adds any

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value to anyone to be honest, or for anyone to be honest. So

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there's something for me about having the courage of your

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convictions. So if you genuinely think something, that you have

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the evidence and data to back it up and demonstrate your points,

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and it might so happen to be controversial, and against the

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grain of what most people are saying in that space, then have

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the courage of those convictions and say it because you know,

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you've got everything behind you to back it up. But if you're

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just saying something thrown it out there to get somebody to

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react to you and you know, create that reaction and then

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that's when I don't think that's the space that you should really

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be operating in because I don't think that shows enough

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integrity, or expertise in your field or evidence or any of

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those things or your uniqueness to be honest because there are

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women hundreds of people out there who also just say the

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opposite of what everyone else is saying for the sake of it and

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who actually thrive on being controversial. So, you know, we

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think of the Donald Trump's of the world Katie Hopkins, other

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people who Quite frankly, I can only think are just saying the

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opposite of everyone else to be different. I think if you said

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to Donald Trump, you'll win the election by saying the sky is

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yellow, not blue, then, you know, possibly he'd say, or he

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wouldn't, because they think well, I want to say the opposite

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of what you say. So yeah, I just think, don't do it for doing it

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sake. But if you have got something that's really valid

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and important to contribute to a conversation, and you have the

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courage of your convictions and the evidence behind you, then

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then definitely do it. But I would also caveat that with,

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often if you are that voice of difference, don't take it

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personally, if people don't react to that in the way you

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might expect to, because sometimes being that voice of

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difference and saying something that might be slightly

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controversial, despite having the evidence behind you to back

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it up, isn't going to go down well with everybody, because

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people won't hold the same views as you necessarily. So don't

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take it personally if people go on the attack a bit. And also

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don't attack back because I think you just make your

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argument less valid. If you then get into a sort of tit for tat,

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I've said something, somebody doesn't like it. And now we're

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just gonna get in a spat about the fact that something they

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don't like, because you're sort of not doing justice to the

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point that you're trying to make. Yeah,

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I think that's that's the important bit. It's

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the this, there's almost three, three elements. For me, there's

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that test of in having this view? Is it being true to my

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values in having this view? Am I being clear in my beliefs and my

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purpose in sharing this view? And in having this view? Am I

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going to be willing to defend and argue my position? come what

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may? Or am I going to retreat at the first sign of someone not

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agreeing, because I want to be a people pleaser, or whatever. So

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I think there's there's a difference isn't there between

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attacking back where you can be rude and hostile and name call

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versus defending your position by by saying, this is the

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evidence. This is why I think the way I think this is what I

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mean, I respect your position. And I asked you to respect mine.

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Carrie-Ann Wade: Yeah, that respect that I think is really

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important, isn't it. And again, part of positioning yourself in

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that thought leadership space is that you've have to be

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respectful of other people's views as well. And you're not

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going to be the only thought leader, if that's the label

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we're using that's operating in that sphere of interest that

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you've got. So you have to be respectful of other people's

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views, as well. And I think that will go a long way to landing

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you and positioning you Well, as a thought leader, actually,

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I think there's something that was coming up as

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you were talking, and you've you raised the examples of Trump,

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Katie Hopkins, possibly you could even say someone like

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suella Braverman with some of the positions she's taken

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recently, where they've come from it as a way to try and be

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popular and to try and build their connection and community

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with people who might think like that, even if it isn't

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necessarily aligned with their real beliefs or aligned with

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their values. And, and, and, and I wonder whether it kind of all

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it always comes back to to legacy because the the true

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thought leaders build a, the fruit of that wealth of evidence

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that they've got, they build that legacy that in years to

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come, they can be seen as a thought leader in that position,

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or in that whatever the issue is that they've they've been

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positioning on, versus people who are populace, but then

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they've probably seen as a bit flaky because they chop and

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change their mind, depending on the way and maybe that's how you

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identify a real thought leader with someone who's trying to

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just be popular.

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Carrie-Ann Wade: Definitely. And the thing I was thinking,

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particularly when I mentioned, Katie Hopkins, but there are

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others. And Brotherman is a good example of that. There's

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something about the people who are in that space, because they

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just want to stay in the public eye. And so maybe they're being

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controversial or sharing an opinion on something because it

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keeps themselves relevant in their own eyes rather than the

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eyes of anyone else. And sort of believing in their own hype a

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little bit. And I think that's, you know, that's not being a

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thought leader. That's that is pretending that you're a thought

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leader, but it's about the clarity of purpose, isn't it?

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Like, why are you operating in that space as a thought leader?

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And if it's just about hyping yourself up and keeping yourself

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in the public sphere, then you're not doing it for the

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right reasons. And therefore really, can you be

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one? Yeah, yeah. That if your aim is I'm trying

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to stay relevant. Yeah. You're not positioning yourself as a

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thought leader. You're trying to win a popularity contest? Yeah.

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Yeah. Okay. I'm conscious of our time but I want us to get some

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practicalities in in place. So what does thought leadership

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look like in practice? How do you start to figure out maybe

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what it is you're going to be known for? Are there tools and

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channels that you should consider using? Like, where?

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Where do you go? If you actually yeah, I've got some views. I've

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got some evidence. I think it's pretty unique. Tick, tick, tick,

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you're in the right column.

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Carrie-Ann Wade: We're meeting all aspects of the equation.

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Yeah.

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Where do you go from here to start to execute a

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plan that is sharing your views more broadly,

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Carrie-Ann Wade: I think there's something for me about clarity

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of purpose and message and all of that. So this is going back

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to some of the stuff we've talked about, about around

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communications and about strategy, I think so what's

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what's your Have you got that clarity on purpose on message

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and and what it is that you are contributing in this space that

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you've chosen to, to be in. And I think there'll be some natural

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ways that you will decide because there'll be an alignment

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of a special interest, or there'll be something that is

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aligned to your, you know, professional expertise, that

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will be the area that you are deciding to focus on as a

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thought leader. And that being really clear on that message.

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And the evidence that you've got to back it up, I think is hugely

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important, because as you've said, the moment you put

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something into the public domain, you have to have the

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ability to defend your position on them. Because there will be

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someone who will disagree with you, or or challenging. I think

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there's something for me about really working out who it is

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that you are trying to reach with your message. So have you

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got your intended audience in mind? And are they people that

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you are trying to influence to do something differently, for

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example, or to take action are the people that you're trying to

Lee Griffith:

educate around a specific topic to get them to understand more

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about it or a different point of view? So being really clear on

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the who you're trying to reach as a thought leader, I think is

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also very important. Yeah. And that can be as niche as you want

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it to be, I think, to be honest with you, depending on on the

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area of your expertise, and what you're talking about. And then

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the bit for me about the sort of, so where do you show up,

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it's kind of where do they show up, because there's absolutely

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no point in you having an interesting, innovative, unique,

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evidence based view on something that you want to share into the

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world, and it not reaching the people that you're trying to

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share it with. Because that will get you nowhere. So you don't

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want to just be, you know, going off putting it wherever. So I

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think there's something about doing that research around where

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the audience you're trying to reach actually showing up, and

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then looking at your opportunities to show up in that

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same space. So if it's that there are some particular groups

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on LinkedIn, for example, that are heavily focused on this

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particular topic, then that might be the space where you

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want to start contributing your thoughts and ideas? If it is,

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the people, you're trying to reach a wall read in a certain

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professional or trade journal, do you want to try and pitch

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something in that space? And get published in that space? Do you

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want to, you know, look at those websites and start contributing

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comments digitally, to pieces that are about similar sorts of

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topics? So I think it's, it's pretty much about how you'd work

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out a good comps plan, if I'm honest with you, around how you

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would approach some of that. So. So yeah, that would be my

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initial thinking around the sort of practicalities of how you

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start to show up. And where but I'm sure you've got some extras

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to Adly?

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No, I mean, I think that was that was pretty

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comprehensive. But I suppose the the thing that was going through

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my mind was that it doesn't need to be this or, you know, you

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don't need to think of it on this big macro scale. either.

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You don't, it doesn't need to be you've got to do a TEDx talk to

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millions of people, or you've got to be in the national media,

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getting the attention it can be, where are my professional

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networks? And can I go and talk at a conference? Or am I around

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a table where I can share some of these views and input? All

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the stuff you said about comments is a really is great.

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That's I mean, it's all goes back to community and

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connection, doesn't it? And substack interestingly, I'm

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finding to be quite a good space that I've subscribed to a couple

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of people who I would position as thought leaders, and they are

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testing their ideas out there with communities that are

Lee Griffith:

interested in what they've got to say, and allowing comment and

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discussion on theories that they're developing and stuff

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like that. And so that's a nice, safe space that they're getting

Lee Griffith:

input into their ideas, but also sharing their thoughts. They're

Lee Griffith:

not, you know, they're not necessarily rocking up at news

Lee Griffith:

at 10 or in the newspaper. But they've they found their people

Lee Griffith:

as it were So who are interested in that topic, and they are

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academically starting to discuss stuff in a different

Lee Griffith:

environment. So I think there are loads of different spaces

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you could use. And it just goes back. And she says, like, what's

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the why? What's the what's the purpose? Can you can you defend

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what it is you're talking about.

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Carrie-Ann Wade: And I think there's something really

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powerful about it being a discussion. And taking away from

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this, like, oh, I have to have a big broadcast piece, that's me

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telling the world something in 1000, word long essay, or

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whatever. And that actually, it is about that connection in that

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discussion. Because if you genuinely want to influence and

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impact something as a thought leader, you're not going to be

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able to do that just in one way. So I do like what you said about

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that connection, that collaboration that come in

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together in spaces with people who are interested in similar

Lee Griffith:

things to you who might not have the same point of view. And we'd

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be interested in hearing what difference you're bringing to

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the table. I feel like that's a really important part of it.

Lee Griffith:

Because you're right, people can think it's about I've got to get

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the big article published in this class for that. Yeah. And

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it's, it's definitely for me more about how you can influence

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and engage people through conversation discussion, sharing

Lee Griffith:

your point of view, rather than like you say, I'm just going to

Lee Griffith:

tell you like it is and that's it.

Lee Griffith:

Perfect. Well, thank you for a very engaging

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discussion and for your views. Thank you for our own little bit

Lee Griffith:

of thought leadership as we devised our own trademarked

Lee Griffith:

equation.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: I love it to be ripped apart by your husband

Lee Griffith:

after that's not a proper equation.

Lee Griffith:

And and don't forget to hop over to substack

Lee Griffith:

if you're not already subscribed, because you will get

Lee Griffith:

a little email from Well, it'd be made this week because I fled

Lee Griffith:

this topic. So I'll have some further musings that I might

Lee Griffith:

want to share. I might even do a lucky little doodle, you might

Lee Griffith:

actually get like some kind of I feel like the Johnny ball. Yeah,

Lee Griffith:

here it is. Yeah. Oh, I might just not bother because I might

Lee Griffith:

forget, but they'll say I'm managing expectations here.

Lee Griffith:

Anyway, we will see you again next week. Thanks for listening.

Lee Griffith:

Don't forget to hit follow to make sure you get the next

Lee Griffith:

episode. And if today's discussion resonated, please

Lee Griffith:

leave a review on Apple podcasts.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: We also have a substack community where you can

Lee Griffith:

get behind the scenes info, Ask Us Anything session and build

Lee Griffith:

your network with like minded leaders. Visit how to take the

Lee Griffith:

lead.substack.com To find out more. And

Lee Griffith:

if you want to work with us to challenge and

Lee Griffith:

change leadership in your organization. Get in touch by

Lee Griffith:

dropping us an email for how to take the lead@gmail.com or DM us

Lee Griffith:

on the socials. Until next week. Get out there and take the lead