Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Keys to Influence

If you think that all recruiters care or talk about is putting warm bodies into open boxes, you might want to check out Jason Davis' site Recruiting

Sure there are lots of posts regarding the care and feeding of recruiting practices both in and out of cyberspace. But beyond subject matter in which you would have little interest unless you were a part of the staffing world, there is a good deal of very insightful thoughts on a wide variety of topics in which any business executive would have an interest and is one of the reasons I try to see what folks over there are talking about.

Not surprisingly, when John Sumser starts a topic on this site, it is not only widely read but usually prompts lots of commentary, and his recent post entitled The Keys to Influence was no exception.

Indeed, one of the things I have learned in writing my own blog over the past four years is that I can't just sit down and fire up a post, which is probably why (along with time management that's in desparate need of first aid) I don't post as frequently as many others. For me, I have to genuinely feel I have something I want to say, and often when reading Sumser commentary, it gins up those feelings.

I also have discovered over the years that there are certain subjects on the business front that spark my interest, the role of leadership being one of them. And it's that which caused me to be one of those who commented on the aforementioned posting of John's.

Some of the most spirited discussions amongst ExecuNet members over the years have also been on the topic of leadership, and the fact that it continues to be simply underscores the fact that while we all understand how critical leadership is for any enterprise, it is also clear that we all have an opinion that almost by definition is preceeded by a thought such as: "I can't prove it, but this is what I believe..." and this has always struck me as one of the key criteria that earns people the label of "thought leader" versus simply subject matter expert.

My take? Experts collect data and are often "book smart." Real thought leaders make you feel that they not only understand the data but at the same time give one the confidence to move beyond the "book" answer.

What is your definition of a thought leader?


Erin Kennedy, CPRW, CERW said...

Hi Dave,

Love this topic as I have recently been researching more on "thought leadership" and it's true meaning in business for a blog post that I am writing as well.

I came across a quote that seemed (to me) to sum up the definition across the board:
"...the characteristic of a thought leader is the recognition from the outside world that the company deeply understands its business, the needs of its customers, and the broader marketplace in which it operates."

So, perhaps as you stated, "I can't prove it, but this is what I believe..." is enough to propel the organization forward because it is what the leader "believes"?

Just my .02 :)

Erin Kennedy, CPRW, CERW

Dave Opton said...


Thanks for a very thoughtful .02! Appreciate your taking the time to comment.