WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THOUGHT LEADERSHIP IN HELPING BUSINESS GROW?

It’s a whole new world. Indeed, with technology and innovation booming, communication and engagement are becoming the underscoring factors, and transformation is becoming the key to success in every industry. These are uncommonly exciting times for entrepreneurs and young professionals who are building their careers, but they can be quite bewildering too. This brings into sharp focus the role of industry thought leaders. So before we learn how you can become a thought leader in your industry, let us take a look at what thought leadership is and how it helps businesses grow.

Who is a thought leader?

A thought leader is an industry leader with considerable experience and expertise in the domain. He/she, however, is much more than a senior professional or a company leader. A thought leader is one whose vision for the industry transcends his/her own organisation and is involved in transforming the dynamics of operations on a wider level. By guiding, mentoring, and inspiring young professionals, a thought leader, keeps up with the pulse of research and innovations that are yet to become industry standards. A thought leader ideates, sets new benchmarks, and influences the industry as a whole.

How does thought leadership help the industry?

Thought leaders are visionaries. Apart from their domain expertise, they bring rare insights that can change the way the industry functions. Breaking traditional thresholds and encouraging new perspectives helps develop new models and create new frontiers. Let us understand this with an example.

By the time Sanjiv Bajaj, the Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Finserv, took over the organisation, India’s banking and financial services sector was still stuck in a very traditional mode. Mr. Bajaj sensed the amazing opportunities that adopting fintech and innovative approaches could offer the organisations and bring about a paradigm shift in how the industry functions. With a futuristic vision, he set about building web and mobile access platforms that brought financial services to the doorstep of millions in rural India. Mr. Bajaj’s thought leadership has helped set the direction for the industry to move forward and adopt new technologies.

One of the key advantages of having a thought leader’s guidance is that it brings a wonderful element of guidance and inspiration to entrepreneurs, researchers, and young professionals who set out to build their careers. In addition, the experience and motivation that thought leaders bring to the table are incredibly valuable for the growth and development of businesses. Some of the most empowering leaders of India have taken on such mentorship roles to benefit the industry and national economy.

What can you do to become a thought leader in your industry?

You may be one of the popular businessmen in India, but to be a thought leader, you will need to work on reaching out to a wider audience and be at the centre of industry-centric conversations. Here is what you can do –

  • Start blogging – Blogs are great conversation starters. A well-written blog can be just as enthralling as an industry newsletter. It can be the focal point for industry watchers, researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs to come together, read more about your thoughts, and discuss developments. Blogs are great broadcast tools, as well as message boards.
  • Take up speaking engagements – Being part of speaking engagements is a sure way to increase your engagement with industry stakeholders. Ajit Rangekar, director of GMAC and former Dean of the Indian School of Business, has been a keynote speaker at several business and industry events. His expertise in business studies and management education has placed him at the helm of thought leadership in India and has helped his vision reach a wide audience.
  • Use the power of social media – Social media is a powerful tool for those who wish to remain updated and catch up on the latest developments in the industry. Some of India’s famous thought leaders and business leaders, such as Ratan Tata, have taken to sites like Twitter to reach out to entrepreneurs and professionals across the globe.
  • Collaborate – One of the best ways to garner clout as a thought leader is to participate in government commissions, corporate boards, and industry committees. Not only will this help build an extensive network of contacts, but it will also help inspire others to scale up sustainable operations and leave an impact on a larger scale.

Thought leadership is a beacon for wide-reaching transformation and adoption of innovation. By being a thought leader, you can become the focal point of dialogue, discussion, and constructive action that will influence all businesses, industries, and the economy as a whole.

Conclusion – A thought leader is an industry expert with a larger vision and a futuristic approach toward doing business. Being a thought leader will help you connect and communicate with all stakeholders, industry experts, and researchers to be able to spearhead the action plan for businesses. The vision for the future should be disseminated through blogs, social media sites, and industry events. The thought leader will require patience and dedication to build up a profile that will motivate and influence the industry as a whole.