Thought leadership.  What in the world does that mean?  

A thought leader is someone who carries unique expertise or perspective and blazes a trail in presenting fresh perspectives in a specific area.  These leaders often write and speak at conferences and help inspire people to thoughtfully engage in the area at hand.

There are two distinct branches of thought leaders: 

#1 The analytical type. 

Malcolm Gladwell, Brene Brown and Jim Collins come to mind.  These types of leaders gather and study large swathes of data in an attempt to find threads of wisdom within.  It could be thousands of companies (Good to Great, Built to Last and Great by Choice – Collins) or perhaps gathering evidence and deducing why such a high percentage of Olympic hockey players in Canada were born in the first quarter of the year (Outliers – Gladwell). 

Brene Brown is a remarkably gifted thought leader and though she focuses intensely on vulnerability, leadership and healthy relationships, the wisdom she offers is deeply rooted in statistical evidence.  Another way of saying it is that they are storytellers. 

#2 The practitioner.

While the list is endless, leaders who’ve paved a way in the marketplace in my life include:

  • Chick Fil-a’s founder, Truett Cathy
  • Herb Kelleher from Southwest Airlines
  • Founder of Kensington Church, Steve Andrews

These individuals began with a bucket full of passion and a handful of vision and just started walking.  One restaurant, one route, one relationship blossomed and thousands of days and decisions later, they became experts and visionaries to whom we look to in hopes of reverse-engineering their success.

Over the last few years, it has been a fascinating endeavor to both lead and shape a business culture while simultaneously studying those who have leveraged analytics to bring tremendous wisdom to light.  Each year, our organization hosts a companywide retreat where we hone in on content from thought leaders who are pointing the way forward for where we are going as an organization.  

Founder’s Mentality – Bane and Co – absolutely rocked our world with how and why companies lose their way. 

The Power of Moments – Heath Brothers – shaped our 2019 retreat as we learned about why certain moments stand out above the rest in life and how to create them. 

Great by Choice – Jim Collins – highlighted three distinguished qualities that were found in companies that were enduringly successful.

Whether you’re interested in learning about Developments in Education for students with ADHD or why trust is so vital in relationships, there is undoubtedly a thought leader who’s inviting us to pursue the uncommon.  

Who’s a thought leader that has heavily impacted your life and journey?

Josh Block

Author Josh Block

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