Thought Leadership (thought leading) in Meetings

(466 words, 4 minutes to read, a lifetime to ponder, today to implement)

You are in a meeting…yes another one…it’s even a well run meeting…you build on each others ideas…controversial issues are addressed…decisions are made…accountabilities are assigned…action is taken…sign me up…you don’t even have to pinch yourself into reality…

Here is the question:

Did you contribute as a thought leader? Were you an opinion maker…did you have opinions that led the thinking going on? Did you have an angle into the issue that provided insight?

To be an Advantage-Maker is to have an opinion and provide thought leadership. And to be a leader is to provide thought leadership that leads brains…and hearts.

You want change, better be able to convince people of your opinion. To win your people’s hearts and minds you need to provide insight that either they didn’t have before or it confirmed their suspicion but didn’t act on it.

Some opinion making is based upon subject matter expertise. Thought leaders shine. If you are going to follow someone’s advice you want it to be brilliant…you may not get that, but that is what you are after.

So how do you get your management team to follow your opinions without ordering them…they have to make sense to the listener, but to move beyond just a manager into an opinion maker leader you must take a different tact, a different angle into the wind, perhaps a controversial position.

When Barry X Lynn (who wrote the forward to my book, The Advantage-Makers), former CIO of Wells Fargo Bank and CEO of 3Xtera…was first implementing ATM systems, there was a glitch in the system and the newspapers had the issue on front page in San Francisco…give me my money and other such provocative comments.

The CEO called Barry, “maybe we should slow down the project.” Without flinching, Barry said, “We should go faster! There are going to be hiccups, we will try our best to keep them at a minimum, but let’s get this done as soon as we can rather than extend it which will keep it in the papers longer…”

That’s Thought Leadership, an opinion maker that convinced the CEO and his staff to go faster, do it sooner.

We all have opinions…some are more worth listening to and following.

In your meetings be an Opinion Maker…to add real value, develop Big Opinions on the subject,  plus them up, and go at it from different angles. Take your initial opinion and push it a bit, expand it, turn it upside down as Barry did. Perhaps,  when everyone is thinking Big, think small…what matters is you are actively creating Thought that influences. You want to frame the idea so the brains light up.

You are not there just to manage, you are there for Thought Leadership that guides hearts and minds. If you want people to turn to you for advice, for decisions, for your opinion develop your thought leadership that creates advantages.


by Thinka Boutit


The Language of a Thought Leader’s Brain

When you listen, do you hear time?

The past, the present, the future.

When we speak we unconsciously reference time frames

And more substantially, we direct ourselves and others to shift time based upon our language.

How are you doing today?  Time frame is present

How did it go yesterday? Time frame is past

How will we make our numbers? Time frame future

We shift the question and the time frame.

Where do you think thought leaders brains are located in time?

Past, present, future.

No doubt we can hear them speak about things in the past, how it was, and how it is, but it is predominantly designed to construct the future.

As well it should be. To be an originator, a visionary you have to live at least part of the time in an imagined future. Your brain must anticipate and contemplate a future world. Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla said, “Great leaders invent the future they want.” So their present is the future.

If you want to have a bigger impact, have a new future you can describe. What will it look like, sound like, be like. Notice the time frame here, what will it …

JFK … we will send a man to the moon and back safely within the next decade.

And if you want an exercise to boost your brain to generate futures, try changing the verb tense and add in the future of the future will be.

For example, this will get us where we want to go and it will generate a new customer base that will lead to engagements that are at the core of what has, is and will be meaningful for us going forward.

Probability thinking is based upon the past and present conditions and accepting the givens as they are, and reacting to the risks and the likelihood of something working out.

Possibility thinking is based upon the future, it lifts you forward, it anticipates things working out without knowing exactly how or the conditions of the present. This is the province of Advantage-Making thought leaders. It is the brains of the Advantage-Maker creating advantages, originating new ways.

You can hear the future in the language of Thought Leaders.

How will you use this?