Curating Good Ideas | Mike Zimmerman

 Curating Good Ideas | Mike Zimmerman | 384

Developing a thought leadership platform within an organization.

An interview with Mike Zimmerman about building a platform and role of thought leadership at Hitachi Vantara.


Is the thought leadership of your organization integrated with other teams?

Or it is something you do on your own time, without broad company support?

To explore how thought leadership is about the effective deployment of great ideas, we sit down with Mike Zimmerman. Mike is the managing editor of The Thought Leadership Hub and Newsroom at Hitachi Vantara, a company helping mission-critical organizations get from data-rich to data-driven!

Purchasers for businesses now spend 83% of their buying cycle educating themselves on the products and services they seek.  Mike helps us understand how thought leadership can get you on that shortlist, by helping those purchasers understand what your product is – and more importantly, why they need it.

Thought Leadership takes a different position inside every company. We examine where it sits within Hitachi Vantara, as well as the investments they are making in it. They integrate thought leadership on a top-down basis, and their “Insights” platform provides a home for stories about innovation, and perspectives on everything from supply chain to sustainability.

In order to have a successful thought leadership platform, you need a fertile source of new content. Mike takes us through the steps he used to identify and recruit his subject matter experts and the various skills they contribute to the platform.

This episode provides critical information for listeners seeking to develop a curatorial role for thought leadership in their organization.

Three Key Takeaways:

  • Your commitment to thought leadership shows in the frequency of the content you produce.
  • When your thought leadership gets published, it is as important to clarify where you stand on each issue, both for and against.
  • When developing your company’s thought leadership, make the org’s manifesto of ethics and values is the anchor for your thoughts.

Join the Organizational Thought Leadership Newsletter to learn more about expanding thought leadership within your organization! This monthly newsletter is full of practical information, advice, and ideas to help you reach your organization’s thought leadership goals.

And if you need help scaling organizational thought leadership, contact Thought Leadership Leverage!


Listen on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts!


Transcript

Bill Sherman Most organizations have a wealth of good ideas, they’re found in every department. And so, more and more organizations are creating thought leadership as a formal function. And whether that’s a team of one or a head of thought leadership with a whole department, I’m seeing more people take on these responsibilities every day. Today, I speak with Mike Zimmerman. He’s the managing editor of The Thought Leadership Hub and Newsroom at Hitachi Ventara. Make a approaches stories with a journalist and an editor’s eye. And so, we talk about how to spot a good story and then help take it to scale. We talk about choosing how to allocate the firm’s scarce resources towards elevating an idea. And we talk about what it takes to launch thought leadership platforms in today’s environment.

Bill Sherman I’m Bill Sherman and you’re listening to Leveraging Thought Leadership. Ready. Let’s begin. Welcome to the show, Michael.

Mike Zimmerman Thanks for having me, Bill.

Bill Sherman So I’m eager to dive into a conversation that has been ongoing in many different forums, one around whether thought leadership is something that’s done at the individual level or a formal function. And so, I would love to hear your thoughts on it, and let’s use that as a starting point for conversation.

Mike Zimmerman Sure, sure. Yeah, I think as you know, I mean, thought leadership has been around for a very long time. Even if you go back to ’94, when the first corporate blogs or 2000, I should say when the first corporate blogs were starting to appear, you’d have blogs that talked about products, you know, Typekit blogs, talked about services and strategies and things. But. Interspersed in there, you’d have a thought leadership blog, you’d have a point of view, you’d have something a story about how a company or an exact feels about a particular topic. And then it would be followed by blogs, you know, 20-30 blogs on more product stuff, more marketing collateral. The difference with today is. I look at thought leadership in two with two pillars. You’ve got the content, which has been around for a long time, but you also have the discipline, the formal function of thought leadership. And that’s, I think, what’s new. So, you’ve got this combination and both are equally important. You’ve got the content, but then you’ve got this discipline, this commitment to producing and growing, I thought leadership, a set of stories, videos, podcasts, whatever the vehicle, whatever the media is. They are stories that are coming out talking about perspectives, points of view, putting context around trends, putting context around innovations. And this is a lie, as I said. You’ve got the content. You’ve got the formal commitment to doing this. I think that’s what’s new.

Bill Sherman So and I would agree with you in terms of thought, leadership is a formal function. You went back to the 2000s, but if you go a little bit later than that, you see many of the professional services firms the McKinsey’s, Accenture’s, Deloitte’s, IBM, where you spent time as well, setting up whether it’s a knowledge institute or a thought leadership function because that was their stock in trade. But I think what we’ve seen over the last five years is the expansion of the thought leadership as a formal function far beyond, you know, the, small world and the small ecosystem of professional consulting.

Mike Zimmerman Yeah, I think and there’s a lot of good reasons for that. Gartner came out with a report not long ago that said that in the buying cycle, especially for B2B companies in the buying cycle, 83 percent of the time spent on self-education, it spent, you know, online research by the person that’s procuring the service of the product. They don’t contact the company until 83 percent of that work is done, 83 percent of that research is done. And a big piece of that is the thought leadership component because more and more. And what this study showed was more and more folks want to understand not just what a company is doing, but why a company is doing it. And that’s why. And that’s one of the big reasons that thought leadership is getting the attention that it’s getting.

Bill Sherman So one of the things that I think this is a place where B2B is catching up in some ways would be to see you talk about that metric from Gartner. For example, if I was buying any major purchase, whether that’s a car or if I was purchasing a home, I would be doing the majority of my research online before I contacted, right? Mm-Hmm. Often now when I go into the car dealership, I’ve made informed decisions around what trim package I want, which vehicles I want to test drive, etc. And I think we’re seeing that in B2B in a much more significant way where you’re down, selecting already even before first contact.

Mike Zimmerman Oh yeah, yeah, I totally. I totally agree. And if you think about it, if you play out that that scenario, if 83 percent of the of the work is done up front by you, the buyer, you the consumer, then it makes that buying decision much, much faster. And that buying action much, much faster.

Bill Sherman So let’s talk about this in an applied sense, if we may. So at Hitachi Ventara how does the follow function of thought leadership? Where does it sit and how does what area does it cover?

Mike Zimmerman Well, it’s interesting because so I just joined in 2021 and November 2021, and one of the reasons I did is because of their interest and their commitment to investing in thought leadership. It’s relatively new for Hitachi even. But to answer your question, we’re putting it in around across the across the company. So we’ve established a destination called Insights that just launched this week, January 17, and we rolled it out with more than 50 homegrown stories about innovations and trends and our feelings about everything from, you know, supply chain to sustainability and points of view on all these topics. So it’s across the company, it’s integrated and we’ll probably talk about this more later. But you know, when you when we speak about the formality of it. The operation is within marketing and within that construct, we’ve got the insights, which is what we call Insights by Hitachi Ventara, the name of the site. So I’m the managing editor of it. I’ve set up a roster of subject matter experts. I’ve set up a cadence for frequency of content. I’m working closely with our social organization for four weekly frequent amplification of the stories that we push. We’ve got the buy in from senior leadership and we’ve got a number of things that we’re doing to just keep this ball rolling. And that’s the name of the game. You know, there’s lots of stats about website traffic and everything, but folks come to your website and they spend, you know, 10 to 20 seconds before they before they leave. What you need to have. You know, as I mentioned earlier, you know, the old days of blogging where you’d have a perspectives piece or a point of view sandwiched between, you know, a dozen product stories on each side that doesn’t fly anymore. You know, when someone comes to the site, they want to see something new. So your commitment thought leadership has to be based on this concept of frequency. You need to continue to and it’s actually good forcing function because companies should be thinking about why they’re doing things. They should be articulating why they’re doing things. Why is it important to do this? Why is it important to do that? So it all works out, but there’s a formal. So you’ve got the commitment and investment, but there’s a formal you have to operationalize it and that’s what we’re doing. It’s actually been to.

Bill Sherman So let’s dive a little bit deeper into the operationalizing in a couple of areas you talked about getting buy in from senior leadership on the vision for insights. And then you mentioned you went out and you recruit you built your list of subject matter experts for the topics that you wanted to cover from an editorial perspective. How did you go about recruiting people and what sort of approach did you make? Because I’m sure for many of them, they’re already busy. So how do you make the ask for some of their time to create pieces?

Mike Zimmerman Well, it’s interesting because folks do, you’ll find that when you start the process, you find that there’s a lot of people that do want to be involved. You know, there are a lot of people with points of view. There’s a lot of people with perspectives. So actually, setting up rosters is not as challenging as it might sound. In fact, the trick becomes honing the roster to where you’ve got folks that are articulate and understand the concept of perspective and points of view and context, and are able to produce and contribute. The other part of it is to continually refresh the roster of SMEs, so not necessarily losing people, but adding to it because people come and go within a company within an organization. Other folks may rise to the surface with an interesting idea. So that that’s not as challenging as it as it sounds, to be honest. But again, having the buy in from leadership is key. You know, so once the CEO and the CMO are emailing their colleagues about the operation, there’s a trickle down effect that permeates throughout the company and people get on board.

Bill Sherman So you talked in terms of then not only refreshing the content, but then you’ve talked about how quickly people form an opinion on is this suitable for me? Should I pay attention to it? 15 to 20 seconds. How are you shaping content and what sort of modalities are you using to capture your audience’s attention within those 15 to 20 seconds?

Mike Zimmerman Well, that’s essentially a website and a web design kind of conversation. You want to make sure that you’ve got graphically pleasing sight. You want to make sure that the headlines are catchy and you want to make sure that the topics are the kind of topics that are topical for lack of a better word. You want to make sure that what you’re talking about is interesting and intriguing. So that goes to, you know, an edit guideline discussion, which is something that we have and we put together for insights. And I think every website has or if you don’t, you should have any guidelines set up. And in that construct, we’ve got do’s and don’ts and what we’re looking for, what we’re not looking for. And really, that’s important. You know, a lot of times I’ve seen edit guidelines or this is what we’re doing and this is how we do it. But you should also have what we’re not doing and how and what we don’t want because that eliminates – or, I should say, answers questions ahead of time.

Bill Sherman So let’s sit on that for a moment. The what we’re not doing is that in terms of modality, is it in terms of topics we’re not covering? Can you give an example or two around that to breathe some life into that?

Mike Zimmerman Yeah, sure.

Mike Zimmerman So when we talk about stories about points of view and perspectives, they’re not press releases, they’re not product collaterals, they’re not case studies, even they’re not client case studies. Those are different types of content assets that are better suited for other sites within the company, whether it’s whether it’s a regular corporate blog or whether it’s a, you know, a marketing site or a product page. That’s not why people. That’s not what thought leadership is, and that’s not what people want to see. So the problem is, if you if you see something like that wedged into a thought leadership destination, you’re going to have questions raised and people, you’re going to lose trust, which is what you don’t want to do. So those are the things it’s not. And the things that it are that it is, are things like, like I said, you know, perspective, points of view, context. And then I should say that fifth pillar. However, if you got points of view perspective, best practices would be his second and then context around innovations and trends. Maybe you’re identifying a trend, maybe you’re putting context around a trend. That “fifth element” is the client story. We’re talking about B2B companies or B2C companies for that matter. That client is the is the universal joint of thought leadership because the client can speak to any one of those four pillars or all four together, which is which is great, but it’s not a client case study. So, a case study is a client story that, you know, Acme Insurance has a problem, and this is the solution that it purchased and deployed from this company. And this was the these were the results of the acquisition of that solution. That’s a case study that’s not a thought leadership story.

Bill Sherman And I’d agree, because any as you’ve said as well. Content marketing, product marketing, those aren’t thought leadership and they have a distinct role in the organization, right? Correct. So, where I’d like to ask the question, and I know this is probably still early days for the thought leadership function, but how are you going to integrate the new website with a marketing sort of approach or in terms of sales and business development, so that the organization is equipped with insights to have conversations with prospects and clients?

Mike Zimmerman Yeah, I mean, that’s a great question, because one of the things that we haven’t talked about is the alignment to the business goals. So perspectives and points of view. It doesn’t serve the organization well if it’s off talking about something else that’s not relatable or related to the organization itself. So right.

Bill Sherman I mean, so if somebody reads an article and says that’s a fantastic point of view, can you help me with it? It’s like, Yeah, no, we really can’t. That’s not our lane.

Mike Zimmerman We don’t do that.

Bill Sherman Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that’s a that’s a tutorial choice. Yeah.

Mike Zimmerman Exactly. Exactly. So, you know, effective thought leadership is going to align to the business goals in some way, if not an innovation itself. But that’s the way around it. And that’s the way that marketing can latch on to it as well, because if you think about it. You might have a press release; you might have a product page and then you have thought leadership that ties it all together. It says this is a higher-level view of why we’re doing what we’re doing. And it becomes a very holistic understanding of the package.

Bill Sherman Well, and when a partner or someone who’s selling is having conversations with existing clients and equipping them with information about the future and saying, Hey, this is not something that you need to worry about today, but you need to be thinking about this. You’re preparing the ground to help them and building trust with them, as well as then you’re preparing your pipeline for the organization. 12-18 months down the line.

Mike Zimmerman But that’s true. And I mean, I don’t want to imply that that all thought leadership is, you know, crystal balling because a lot of it’s not, however, putting perspective around things and getting people to think about things in a new way. That is definitely very impactful when it when it comes to making decisions. You know, we talk a lot about it at Hitachi Ventara. We talk a lot about data driven decision making, making smart decisions based on the data, the outcomes of machine learning models, the outcomes of research and reports. And, you know, thought leadership plays a role in that.

Bill Sherman Yes, you’re right. The leadership plays a role in sort of the work that’s being done within the organization. And I think many of the times it takes a while for the insights and you talk about technology, you talk about how you talk about machine learning, evidence-based decision making on massive data sets, right? Those are skills where a lot of leaders simply just didn’t go to business school around, and these are still muscles that need to be developed. How do you apply in the organization and they need that advice perspective to say, OK, how do I really make this work? How do I incorporate AI and ML?

Mike Zimmerman Yeah, totally agree. I totally agree. And I think the so the thought leadership becomes complementary.

Bill Sherman You know one question that’s keeping them up at night? Correct?

Mike Zimmerman Yeah. I mean, there’s also there’s also an aspect of this that we haven’t really touched on, which is the it’s a new world out there. And, you know, from investors to to customers to prospects, folks that more people want to know what makes a company tick. And if you don’t have thought leadership content and thought leadership content on a frequent basis because things are changing so quickly, you lose that ability to connect with that constituency, whether it’s an investor and an analyst, a client prospect. And you know, we talk about, for example, we used to talk about your judged by the company you keep well, you’re all, you know, more and more, you’re getting judged by the company that you do business with and investors. Investors know this better than anyone. Probably, you know, there’s a whole there’s a whole conversation around greenwashing when it comes to what a company does and says about its sustainability and environmental practices. And investors want to know if that’s if that’s bona fide. They want to know if that’s accurate, if it’s if it’s real or if it’s just talk. So thought leadership plays a role there as well.

Bill Sherman If you are enjoying this episode of Leveraging Thought Leadership, please make sure to subscribe if you’d like to help spread the word about the podcast. Please leave a five-star review and share it with your friends. We are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and all major platforms, as well as at LeveragingThoughtLeadership.com.

Bill Sherman One of the things that I’ve seen, and you talked in terms of investors is pre-IPO organizations have been making more of an investment into thought leadership, one to attract investors as they’re going through rounds of fundraising too, with an eye towards when they go public, then also saying, OK, this is the intellectual capital and the reputation that we’ve built in the market. And so, when you talk about really reputational development, not only within your clients and prospects, but also with your investors and almost as an investor relations tool makes a lot of sense.

Mike Zimmerman Yeah, that – well said, because there are lots of studies about the effectiveness of thought leadership and there’s different numbers and outcomes. And one of the things that is true across a lot of the reports is that thought leadership does a number of things very well. The group’s reputation improves, increases confidence in the organization that you’re that you’re considering and it does. There’s empirical evidence that it does bolster the bottom line. So all those things you just said are exactly right.

Bill Sherman So you’ve now launched The Hub for insights for Hitachi Ventara. If you were to look ahead six months or a year, what would you hope that it would be and how would it be functioning?

Mike Zimmerman The hope and the goal, which I think we’ll be able to achieve, is to dramatically increase the awareness of Hitachi Ventara as an organization. It will do that by presenting and sharing great content about why we’re doing the things we’re doing. We’ve got a great story around sustainability and the environment. We’re working closely with energy companies in addition to our stock and trade, which is data storage management. The analysis of it and this thought leadership destination is going to be a really strong component of the marketing organization as we go forward and the proof will be in the pudding. I mean, we’ll have. We’ve got metrics. You know, we’ve got we’ve got numbers and goals that we want to reach. We want to increase it dramatically. We’re starting from ground zero. So no place to go but up. But at the same time, we’re pretty bullish on the fact that we’ve got a great organization behind it and a lot of folks really interested in contributing and helping it to grow. And not to mention the fact that we’ve got a super robust social organization that is in lockstep with us and has been working with us from the very beginning in concert. And we started a massive amplification program this week and that will just continue.

Bill Sherman And that’s something that’s significant, right, because it’s not just about creating and curating the thought leadership, but you’ve got to be able to deploy it effectively and often a thought leadership team doesn’t have the reach and the ability to create the same impact as, like you said, a social team. Right. And so, yeah. You need allies there to help push it out.

Mike Zimmerman I would yeah, it’s exactly right and I’ve been in organizations. I’ve been in organizations that have had really robust thought leadership programs and a social element was not part of it. And you lose you lose a lot when you don’t have that because you’re essentially doing it on your own. You’re out there and you’re doing what could be. There’s just opportunity there that you’re not you’re not taking advantage of when you don’t have a social organization that’s wrapped in lockstep with you.

Bill Sherman Well, and I think this goes back to the conversation we started with as a formal function. Right. If you’re integrated into the organization that you’re able to leverage the strengths of other teams and they understand what you can contribute and where they pick up the ball and run, then that works. But if you’re just, you know, and I know there are some folks who basically have started the leadership for their organization or their business unit almost as in evenings and weekends activity because they saw a need for it and no one else was doing it right. That’s a huge delta between, Hey, I’m going to stop and do this myself versus I’m part of the team.

Mike Zimmerman Right? Exactly. Yeah. And I just want to reiterate that when you have the buy in from senior and leadership, it really pays off. It really helps because it does folks see that this is something that our leadership is behind. Our leadership is even producing stories for this, for this operation, and that’s when you start to get the buy in across the board. And then it’s just I mean, it’s lights out because it’s a matter of keeping the wheel spinning and things moving forward. And there’s no stopping. It’s fantastic. It’s a fantastic place to be.

Bill Sherman So it sounds like in some ways, not only do you have senior leadership as champions, but also as role models who are also contributing. Is that a fair …>

Mike Zimmerman That’s completely fair. At Hitachi Ventara, that’s exactly what’s going on. And I think we touched on a little bit, but, you know, thought leadership is such an abstract term.

Bill Sherman Absolutely, yeah.

Mike Zimmerman But it really works for the I mean, it works as a, you know, as a functional banner, so people know what that actually means. People may not agree with what thought leadership the words are, but they folks get behind the concept, which is good and it takes different forms, you know, so we’re talking about the insights website, which is mainly stories, but we’re going to have we’re going to have more and more videos on that. We’re going to have talking about podcasting on that. And so social. I mean, so, so thought leadership can take many forms, even, you know, events where you have where you have, you know, presenters and speakers. I mean, these things that they all can be funneled up into the under the thought leadership umbrella?

Bill Sherman Oh, absolutely. And so there’s even things such as VIP dinners where you get like-minded folks together.

Mike Zimmerman Right.

Bill Sherman And very interesting speaker in any interesting and intimate setting, and just have a conversation about a topic of interest to the group by creating community sometimes and creating cross connections where people realize that they share similar interests. You wind up deepening their interest in the topic.

Mike Zimmerman True. True. Yeah, that’s exactly right. Yeah. And there’s – there are those as well. I mean, I think of this is an this is not exactly what you were talking about. I mean, but Bill Gates spoke about, you know, the risk of not addressing the pandemic or pandemics. I think it was in 2015, right at a TED conference. Well, you know, I don’t know if there’s a better example of thought leadership than that in recent history, because not only wasn’t, he wasn’t necessarily predicting what he was doing was he was he was talking about, Look, this is where we are today, and this is what’s going to happen if we don’t change things. This is a viable option. You could say the same thing about Al Gore talking about an inconvenient truth, for that matter. The same vein.

Bill Sherman There’s something about putting a topic that’s not being in conversation onto the table and say, we need to discuss this. Now some people may dismiss that and call you a Cassandra and basically say you’re a doomsayer or you’re predicting the future, and nobody listens. But the issue of taking something that isn’t in the agenda and putting on the agenda, I think is very core to the leadership.

Mike Zimmerman But yeah, I totally agree. It’s sometimes I liken it to, you know, thinking about something that you already know in a different way. And there’s a I’ve got a great example of that. There was there’s a great guy at IBM who I worked with closely on a number of stories, and he’s the kdo. And there was there was a couple of years ago and there was a bias in. I was becoming a very hot topic because of the inequalities that it was that it was surfacing.

Bill Sherman And it was baked into the algorithm, almost

Mike Zimmerman It was baked in the algorithm. And a lot of the algorithms, whether it was finance mortgages for, you know, health care. And so, what the guys, the CDOs, Seth Dobrin and a great guy. Very, very, very smart. And he put together a blog posting. He sent it to me and said, You know, what do you think of this? So, we worked on it and posted it. And the idea was. That he said the way around bias in AI has more to do with the people writing, the algorithms, the people working with the machine learning. So, if you have and this is the thing, so he said, what you need is a diverse data science group. You need diversity. You need to proactively build diversity into your data science teams because you can’t expect to have no bias in your in your models. If you are data scientist, team is the same age, the same race, the same color. There they have no their cultural boundaries are very defined. So. That was something that no one had spoken up about at the time, and the other thing, though, that it raised was this idea that. You know, bias had had bias has a really negative connotation, but what he raised was this idea of unintentional bias when it comes to the A.I., when it comes to that. So, the models and the algorithms, it could be a case where people just aren’t thinking about this perspective or thinking about this aspect of a of a loan. They’re just not thinking about it. So, this idea that building diversity data science teams will not only help you limit and reduce the bias in your algorithms. Diversity is a good thing in the first place. Diversity is good for business, but it raised this idea that look, you have to understand that all bias is not intentional. There’s unintentional bias, which can be just as damaging. And the way around that is through diversity. So very, very I mean, it’s a classic example of a thought leadership story and angle that talked about a topic that a lot of people thought they knew very, very well, but thought about it in a different way.

Bill Sherman We’ve talked about thought leadership as seeing around corners. I think you add their a second piece which is seeing the blind spots which have existed but haven’t been acted on because they’ve just been assumed to be working as intended.

Mike Zimmerman Right. You know, there’s a there’s another aspect to air, which is observability, and I think that goes to what you’re what you’re describing. So, it may not be a blind spot. It’s if you don’t know what you’re looking for. I don’t know. You’re going to find it. So that is part of the that is that is air, at least in this instance, in this instance was part of the problem.

Bill Sherman So as we begin to wrap up, Michael, I want to ask you a question and I know you’ve been practicing failed leadership in many different forms here. And I said, how even Tara previously at IBM? And so, my question would be, there are many people now who are entering the world of thought leadership as practitioners who are creating content or as people who are being asked by their organization to curate it. I want to ask you the question from a curatorial point of view. What advice would you give someone who is taking on sort of the head of thought leadership curatorial role and is new to it?

Mike Zimmerman Oh, there’s a lot. There’s a lot. I would probably start by understanding, of course, what understanding what the business does and what it wants to do. Because if you’re spearheading the thought leadership operation, you want to know what the company stands for because that’s what you’re going to that’s going to be the anchor for your campaign, for your whatever it is that whatever, whatever vehicle you’re going to use for thought leadership, that’s going to be the anchor. What is the company doing? Why is it doing it? And then it has to do with understanding and laying out a plan, a roadmap for architecting the operation. What I said earlier, you know, identify who your SMEs are, and I’ll tell you, one of the things about the same subject matter expert is not just about identifying, you’ve got to work with them, you know, and you work with them on a story-by-story basis. You are story mining. That’s where a lot of the journalism background comes into play because not everything is, as we already indicated, not everything is a thought leadership story. So, you might go into a meeting, and I’ve done this many, many times where I go into a meeting about a story that somebody pitched me. But it’s not a good story. It’s not, and it’s certainly not a thought leadership story, but something they say in the meeting. Pops up as an interesting angle, and we just veer into that and we take that angle. Other times a story pops up and it’s not good for thought leadership, but you know what it’s good for over there. So, setting up the setting up the Esmee roster, working with the with your exact and your subject matter experts setting up the operation, the cadence get a schedule going. There’s a lot of logistical things that have to take place. That’s what you work on, but it starts with the anchor.

Bill Sherman And the first thing that you called out to is understanding the business and the business objectives. And I would say for many practitioners of thought leadership, especially if you’re in that curatorial role, I would add to that and say the more fluent you can be about business and understand what senior leadership is looking at and what they’re measuring and caring about and how they’re trying to achieve it. The easier it is to align the fall leadership function. So yeah, I want to tell a bright line under the business aligned piece.

Mike Zimmerman Yeah, I like the way you said that, too. What does the company care about? That’s the big part of it.

Bill Sherman Otherwise, you’re creating smart ideas, but they’re not connected to the business and ultimately the leadership stumbles.

Mike Zimmerman Exactly. That’s exactly right.

Bill Sherman So, Michael, I want to thank you for joining us today for a great conversation around thought leadership as a formal function. And congratulations on the launch on the insights platform.

Mike Zimmerman Hey, Bill, thanks very much. It was a lot of fun to talk to you about this.

Bill Sherman If you’re interested in organizational thought leadership, then I invite you to subscribe to the OrgTL newsletter. Each month, we talk about the people who create, curate and deploy thought leadership on behalf of their organizations. Go to the website OrgTL.com and choose Join our newsletter. I’ll leave a link to the website, as well as my LinkedIn profile in the show notes. Thanks for listening, and I look forward to hearing what you thought of the show.

Bill Sherman works with thought leaders to launch big ideas within well-known brands. He is the COO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Bill on Twitter

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