Anyone who thinks that thought leadership is purely an external function aimed at influencing clients and new business prospects, is seriously limiting their potential.
Used properly, it is a very powerful tool for motivating and inspiring employees. It can play a big role in your retention strategy and act as a great talent magnet. These days talent scans the sector for the innovators and lead thinkers in the industry – they want to work at these organisations because the perception is this is where the action happens and where the leaders in their industry congregate.
I often advocate that thought leadership is not and should not purely be seen as a marketing or PR tactic – rather it should be part of the culture of an organisation the same way that sales, training or innovation are part of the culture of some organisations.
The really deep-seated, effective thought leadership is often closely aligned with the values of an organisation and typically has the buy-in and ownership of senior management. As such it is part of the culture of the organisation and has the buy-in and ownership of management. This permeates the rest of the company.
The organisations that strategically take their employees on the thought leadership journey will find not only do they become its best campaign ambassadors but it also has a number of positive knock-on effects:
Not only does the business benefit externally, but internally it entrenches thought leadership as a way of doing business. This fosters the emergence of other thought leaders thus creating a virtuous circle.