Tagscatchphrase, cliche, leadership, opinion makers, Paul Calder, thought leaders
Gone are the days of Galileo, Darwin, Marx and Einstein whose revolutionary ideas truly changed the course of history and mankind. Today, it seems anyone with an idea — any idea — is self-fashioned a “thought leader.” Thought leadership has become commoditized thanks to a flat world (sorry, Galileo), hyper-information and the commercial lure of book sales and speaking engagements.
Thought leaders of yore were usually banished not glorified. Sadly today, recognition and commercial success are the underlying drivers of thought leadership. (I doubt if any of our thought leaders today are willing to be burned at the stakes for their ideas.)
So here’s a thought: How about we hold our thought leaders to higher benchmarks?
If “a thought leader is a futurist or person who is recognized for innovative ideas and demonstrates the confidence to promote or share those ideas as actionable distilled insights,” according to Wiki, surely a thought leader is more than just possessing a thought? The key lies in demonstrating the leadership to take that idea to drive a movement or an outcome that’s genuinely revolutionary and often against the grain. Thought leaders are renegades. They usually don’t march to the beat of business or commerce.
Could it be many of our ‘thought leaders’ today are better described as opinion makers? Certainly there’s nothing wrong with having an opinion. (This is one). Nor is it of lesser value to original thought. Opinions get a lot of airplay, too. But before we start conferring thought leadership, let’s pause and think.
What’s your thought on this?
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