A thought leader is someone who makes a study of their particular field and continues to study it for a lifetime as they positively influence others. Their goal is to share their brain, all the knowledge that they possess to provide solutions for the masses. Thought Leadership is “the progressive innovation or creation of ideas and solutions that will benefit our world and mankind for all time.”

Thought leadership marketing has become one of the most consequential and effective ways for business owners, entrepreneurs, and CEOs to brand themselves on the Web. The term thought leadership has been bantered around since the early 1990s when Patrick Reilly, a journalist for the Wall Street Journal used it in the marketing section.

Because of this it only makes sense that all thought leaders are solutions-oriented leaders.

Thought Leadership Defined

The source Wikipedia says that “thought leadership is influencing a narrative by understanding what needs to be done.”

It goes on to say, “a thought leader can be recognized as an authority in a specific field and whose specific expertise is sought often and rewarded, that can be an expert, a historical person, or a “wise person” with worldly impact”.

The term he used refer to the publications that were making a difference at the time such as Harper’s magazine. That brings us back to where we got started what is the true definition of thought leadership? 

Criticism of Thought Leadership

Recently there’s been some criticism about what is thought leadership. Some of the criticism of thought leadership comes from writers who think the term is off putting. Harvard Business Review contributor Dorie Clark defended the phrase, however she thought it was a little “icky and ego maniacal”.

The bottom line is that a thought leader is someone who offers individuals, companies, and organizations guidance and insight.

What is the Purpose Behind Thought Leadership?

  • The major purpose of being a thought leader is to have prospects, clients, and competitors view you as an authority in your industry.
  • By publishing unique and useful content you can position yourself as a resource for individuals and businesses.
  • When you do this, you will solidify yours and your company’s reputation as a leader in your space.

Examples of Thought Leadership

  • There is no better example of thought leadership than Steve Jobs. He said, you always have to be a little different to buy an Apple computer”. This thought leadership moment inspired apples “think different” ad campaign. The campaign featuring real “genius’s” whose “crazy” ideas had a profound effect on the world.
  • Steven Spielberg is certainly a thought leader. His ideas have changed technology for the better. He said, your job is to create a world that lasts forever”. If you look at what is happening in artificial intelligence and robotics, Spielberg played a role.

All you have to do is look at movies like the Terminator with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jurassic Park, to know that Steven Spielberg is a thought leader making an impact on this world that will last forever.

How to Become a Thought Leader

If you are looking to become a thought leader it takes hard work, dedication and time. Thought leaders are continually building their expertise, experience, and credibility. Implement this strategy to get started on becoming a thought leader in 6 steps.

Define Your Area of Expertise

To be successful you must clearly define your area of expertise before you get started. For example, if your expertise is in the area of real estate, to raise your profile you should write articles on real estate trends in your area.

To establish your credibility you could do a podcast. You could interview real estate industry leaders and mortgage bankers to position yourself as an expert in the real estate industry.

Go Deep Not Shallow!

It’s important to pick a lane and then go deep with your content, because your clients are looking for an expert. It’s important to establish your expertise as a thought leader you want to produce on a few issues versus many issues.

Stay Current in Your Field of Expertise

As a thought leader you must stay current with the trends and innovation in your industry. This is especially crucial because the technology industry that changes minute by minute and you need to keep up!.

By staying current it gives thought leaders the opportunities to recognize and analyze patterns and trends in the market. This can inspire strategies for achieving business solutions that can last a lifetime.

Listen to Others… O.P.E. Other People’s Experiences

True thought leaders make an effort to understand and listen to what others have to say. Because they know if they stay connected with their peers, they will expand their knowledge on any given topic.

Look for Inspiration Around You

Most thought leader’s superpower is their razor-sharp focus in their field of expertise. They recognize the mastermind principle, when you draw from multiple sources of information, in a solutions-oriented mastermind group, you will increase the chances that new and innovative ideas will start springing up!

My friend and fellow top global guru in leadership, Simon Sinek says “leaders who observe and connect information from a number of sources are generally well positioned to create ideas that are informed by the needs of the marketplace”.

Constantly Evaluate Your Audience

Your clients, prospects, the business, and the media are your audiences. They will be the ones to decide how effective your thought leadership is. If you notice a drop in participation or views on your website relating to your content, it may be time to change your strategy.

Consider These Action Steps

  • Clients – As my friend branding expert, speaker, an author Bruce Turkle says, “make it all about them!” make your content more about them than what you are offering.
  • Prospects – Be the first to find emerging themes and bring insights to the table that nobody has.
  • The Business – make sure you align your content and you’re branding with the expertise you offer.
  • The media – share ideas out with a journalist or a friend and PR. Have another set of eyes on your content.


Thought leaders focus on providing solutions that deliver results that will inspire our world now and in the future. The bottom line is that what we really need in our world today is more thought leaders, that our solutions-oriented leaders focused on helping and sharing their ideas with the world.

Learn More About Thought Leadership With The Solutions Oriented Leader

Even with all that said, we’ve really just scratched the surface of what makes executive coaching so rewarding. Learn more about why you should pursue work with a coach. I invite you to reach out to me for a one-on-one chat.

Dr. Rick Goodman is recognized globally as one of the best motivational keynote speakers today. He has delivered thousands of keynote presentations and facilitating and working with small companies with only a few people all the way up to big behemoths that dominate their industries.

Contact Rick at www.rickgoodman.com or call 888-267-6098. And also: You can now get flash briefings on your Alexa at home or on the Alexa app! All you have to do is enable The Solutions Oriented Leader and click on this link!


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