Zombie Thought Leaders


Diversity must be top of mind for many of you. I received a record amount of feedback on the diversity newsletter last week.  While I can’t share all of it here, I did want to highlight a few comments:

  • “As the research you highlighted points out, diversity is critical to creating value in an organization. Having the perspective brought by diversity is important in developing an understanding of the market as well as how to best lead teams.  We look to add diverse members to both our boards as well as management teams. It is sometimes challenging to find individuals with the right mix of skills and diverse backgrounds. Therefore, we are also supporting efforts to add talent through training of these types of individuals.” – Lee

Sage advice as usual Lee.  Depending on your industry, it can be incredibly challenging to find a diverse subset of candidates. Cultivating and training talent is just as important as actively hiring for senior-level roles.

  • “We have an amazingly diverse workforce.  Not hard to do -we just hire the best person looking for a job not apply other judgements. The more diverse we become the less often we need to address whether it is a good “fit”.” – Art

I find this last sentence, particularly compelling.  It’s amazing how quickly diversity stops being an issue when you truly embrace it as an organization.

  • “For the companies that care about diversity and attracting female employees, they should check out our portfolio company, InHerSight.com.” – Brad

A great resource for women on the job hunt and for employers who want to understand how they stack up in supporting women in the workplace.

And now to the newsletter…

Topic of the Week: Zombie Thought Leaders

Thought leadership is sexy.  It’s the latest growth tactic being promoted in every corner of the business sphere. Like most growth strategies, there is no shortage of people jumping on the bandwagon to get their share of the rewards.  Unfortunately, this has turned thought leadership into a grossly misrepresented buzz word.  It’s gotten to the point where I start to have a visceral reaction when I hear the word “thought leader.” The two most common abuses I see are:

1) A company who truly has a revolutionary product or the best in the market, but no one in the industry knows who they are.

2) A person/company who uses content, interviews and speaking engagements as a platform for self-promotion vs. adding any value to the world.

These are zombie thought leaders.  They are a shell of a thought leader.  Luckily, there is a cure.

Thought leadership is not a self-ordained title, it’s the outcome of hard work.  Thought leadership is your position in the market as a credible and knowledgeable source of information.  It is also the direct result of an intentional and well-crafted PR strategy.

While I can’t help you become an expert in your field, I can help shed light on the PR side of things.  Over the next several months we will sprinkle in newsletters focused on specific PR strategies that improve thought leadership, such as:

1)     Content creation:  Creating relevant and helpful content that your target audience values.

2)     Media Interviews:  Air time on the media channels that reach your intended target audience.

3)     Speaking Engagements:  Conferences and panels that your target audience attends.

ROND Community Section

When you provide feedback, please let me know if you want a link included to your linkedin or company website.  I would love to pay you back for offering up feedback.

Now to the question of the week:

Who do you know that is killing it on the PR front? It can be a company, person or agency.

About the author

Danielle O'Rourke

Recovering Investor. Mom. Wife.

By Danielle O'Rourke

Danielle O'Rourke

Recovering Investor. Mom. Wife.

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