Leveraging Thought Leadership with Bill Sherman – Full Time Coach, Podcaster, & Community Builder
Bill Sherman is a leader in business transformation – starting with the key ideas that become tools for success. Bill has over 20 years’ experience, and as the current COO of Thought Leadership Leverage has provided consulting and business expertise to industries who are looking for true organization change. Using creativity and innovation to pair with business acumen, Bill has helped industry leaders forge ahead to accomplish meaningful, sustainable goals.
AIT welcomed Thought Leadership expert Bill Sherman for an in-depth discussion about the how and why Thought Leadership plays such an important role in the path to becoming a true revolutionary Influencer. Bill knows all about how to craft smart ideas into workable solutions through which organizations can achieve their goals. Bill’s work in content and product development has also given him the experience to know the right way to craft the right ideas to make goals a reality.
“Thought Leadership is a practice…it’s not something that you go to school for, you get a degree. You’re constantly working out…it’s the ability to peer around corners into the future, to look through the noise…and be able to determine the right signal, to see something of substance.” – Bill Sherman
Bill continued to describe Thought Leadership again from an in-practice perspective, versus a true single goal to reach. In addition to training your mindset, what you do with this leadership responsibility is just as critical.
“Being a practitioner of thought leadership means you have a responsibility to take that insight back to an audience and share it with them in a way that they can understand it, they can access it, they understand why it’s relevant to them. And most importantly, they have that aha moment where they know what they need to do today. If you’re doing those things, you’re doing thought leadership.” – Bill Sherman
For those who are early in the days of crafting their own Thought Leadership path, Bill offers some insightful steps to make sure your focus matches your goals. Having a unique point of view, engaging in conversations with others who may share a different perspective from yours, and developing your expertise will ensure that your message, your brand can start to form the foundation of the value you bring to any organization or pursuit.
Bill also made some great points surrounding the discussion of Imposter Syndrome. This was an interesting starting point for polling the audience at the onset of the discussion. Not everyone was familiar with this concept and others were still working through moving past those self-defeating thoughts of living with Imposter Syndrome. Bill took that challenge head on and helped participants better understand how Imposter Syndrome works, and also, more importantly, how to defeat it.
“There’s this little voice inside your head that says it’s not ready yet. It’s not good enough, it’s not easy enough for others to understand. And what that causes is people sit back, they get a little bit more cautious. They don’t talk about their ideas with other people. And that’s a shame because one of the best ways to polish ideas to take them from that raw sort of nucleus of an idea and actually shape it into something good is to sit down and spar with someone.” – Bill Sherman
Continuing on in the discussion surrounding Imposter Syndrome and building confidence, Bill made a key point about Thought Leadership in a larger community and facing those who may not believe in you or maybe want to see you fail. Look to those challenges as opportunities for growth and your own development.
“Thought Leadership doesn’t work in isolation. It’s a contact sport – you have to be willing to put your idea out and love your critic…And instead of feeling that something’s wrong with you, or your idea, you have to lean in and say, ‘Okay, tell me more.’ Because your critic is a gift in that regard.” – Bill Sherman
Bill continued the discussion with his concept of Comfortable Corners of Thought Leadership. This idea comes down to the process of brainstorming, really thinking through an idea, then sharpening the process to drive down and focus on what the important message of the idea is. His method of driving down the focus is by physically writing, sketching, doodling ideas as they come up and having this resource to draw upon for further reflection and streamlining in some cases. There are so many frequent new channels (or ‘modalities’ as Bill describes) to reach people, so start with the method you’re most comfortable with, become that expert, and not spending the focus on learning the newest and greatest, at least at first, will set you up for sustainable success.
“But my recommendation is when you’re exploring new modalities, stay with comfortable ideas, don’t try to present new ideas when you’re trying to master the modality.” – Bill Sherman
Bill’s final closing thoughts surrounding sharing the crafted thoughts or new ideas is to always consider the method of delivery and experience level of the audience with which you’re engaging. Find that space to expertly convey your message in a way that gives you the best opportunity to create a valuable connection.
“When you’re presenting ideas to your audience, it’s new to them. You may have been thinking about the idea for months or weeks or even years. For them, they’re hearing it for the first time. You need to think about if they have low comfort with the idea, if they’re hearing it for the first time, then they have to hear about it in a modality that they’re comfortable with. If you ask them to encounter a new idea, in a modality, that’s not their jam, guess what? They’re going to struggle.” – Bill Sherman
AIT and the Competency Model™
AIT is a community created to build and support Thought Leaders and Influencers. As Bill mentioned, finding your authentic message and being able to convey it in a meaningful way is how you build your arena and credibility as a Thought Leader. Becoming your own special brand of Thought Leader is what ensures that your passion and your purpose find a unique voice. AIT is here to help you craft and market that voice in a community of leaders!
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