Discovering Thought Leadership | Mark Smith | 387
Play • 26 min
Few children say, ” I want to be a thought leader when I grow up.” So, when did you realize this was what you wanted to do with your life?   Every thought leadership practitioner comes from a unique background. Most began in other roles, following twisted paths that unexpectedly led them into thought leadership. When your organization needs a formal thought leadership position, how do you take people from disparate backgrounds and successfully stand up that new function? To better explore this transition, we’ve invited Mark Smith. Mark is Director, HR Thought Leadership at the Society for Human Resource Management (also known as SHRM). Mark’s background includes a Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and years of consulting in Human Resources, so he's got the right background to help us answer this question!    Mark started his career at SHRM by leading a team to develop certification exams for HR. This research led Mark off the beaten path into marketing, social media, and sales - all the while continuing to lead his team. Eventually, Mark’s boss recognized that Mark was doing incredible work outside of the scope of his position, and created the title of Director, HR Thought Leadership that Mark holds today. As the first official thought leadership role in the company, Mark was tasked with creating the responsibilities, roles, and tasks that the position would require, and building it into a meaningful part of the organization. He had to discover ways to bridge the gap between their important research and the audience he hoped to reach. Mark further shares his ideas about white papers. He tells us that they're not a great medium for the average audience, but those papers, infographics, sound bites, and more, can be shared on social media to offer people simple ways to take action toward more complex ideas. This is a wonderful conversation about standing up a thought leadership position. From the first steps of writing a vision for the role, to seeking mutually beneficial partners to collaborate with and reach larger audiences, Mark's got amazing insights that can help you do the same.  Three Key Takeaways:
  • Research often sits to the side of business goals. Thought Leaders need to bring that research to their audience in an actionable way.
  • Organizational Thought Leaders need to navigate the complexity of silo'ed teams, develop buy-in, and get everyone on the same page.
  • A fast way to grow your thought leadership reach is to collaborate with complementary partners - especially those whose work doesn't share the same audience.
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