by Karen Armon, CEO/Founder, MarketOne Executive
Executives who desire to make their next career move must do the deep introspective work that causes them to be a Thought Leader. To position yourself as a Thought Leader means that you must understand your potential within these concepts rather than recite your past as if it was special. Your past may be great but it is in the past!
Many leaders are underprepared for the Global Digital Economy. We have found ourselves in it, and it is not going away! Those that have done little to think, learn and develop social networks find themselves wanting in opportunities. Organizations need Thought Leaders who can guide an organization though the global economic changes.
As well, these same leaders are overexperienced in an Industrial Economy that is quickly becoming off-shored; therefore, the skills they have developed are handed off to less-expensive workforces who are ready to grab their work.
McKinsey’s Lowell Bryan and Claudia Joyce write in “Mobilizing Minds, Creating Wealth from Talent In The 21st Century Organization” that many companies are unable to capture the opportunities of today’s global economy because they were designed using a 20th century model. Bryan and Joyce analyzed the concept of “profit per employee”, a metric that sheds light on the firm’s intangible assets that result from “thinking-intensive” work. They found that “thinking-intensive” companies – those with a large percentage of employees who must think subjectively and solve problems rather than perform well-defined tasks – are delivering staggering income, profitability and market capitalizations. These are the firms that are more adept at creating an environment where knowledge workers can translate their mind work into high-quality, high-return benefits.
Taken from Leadership 2012: Trends and Best Practices, CorpU, 2008
The Global Digital Economy requires that companies finds talented Thought Leaders. However, most executives are focusing in on their current work responsibilities. The average executive has not taken time to think about his or her potential in leading as a Thought Leader. Therefore, they miss out on the opportunity to make a lasting effect on their companies and industries. The 21st Century Organization is looking for Thought Leaders as it shifts into this new Global Digital Economy.
To underscore my point, Harvard’s Balanced Scorecard, date, gives us a peek into what these two economic models mean for leaders today.
In The Demise of Cost and Profit Centers, Robert S. Kaplan observes that… a whole new way of looking at organization units [is needed]. Specifically, Kaplan says, the distinctions between cost and profit centers are no longer significant. Every unit, by contributing to effective strategy execution, has the opportunity to support and create profit. This capability has important implications for specifying objectives and evaluating the performance of all organizational units.
Thus, the executive’s challenge is to see the distinctions between the two economic models and understand that the difference isn’t in the functional role itself, but in the context in which the company sees its future.
As the Industrial Economy transcended into the Global Digital Economy, I was taken off guard. My years of experience as a coach for career executives suddenly shifted. I realized changes were taking place but did not totally understand this new Global Digital Economy and its impact on executives. I decided to pull back for the purpose of coming up with the answers. This time of research and analysis caused me to have a better understanding of the value of the Thought Leader. I changed everything including my business name, website, my message, and rebranded myself for the Global Digit Economy. This personal shift has caused me to notice that many talented executives are frustrated because they have not started to look at today’s organic economy. It’s more than a good paying job. It is about defining your value as a Thought Leader and making a lasting impact.
Potential, therefore, is a matter of perception and language. Thought Leaders look futuristically and at potential.
Perceptions that you are strategic in your thinking, connecting the dots between where the industry has been and where it needs to go, is vital. But a note of caution is required. Perceptions are built based upon solid evidence, not superficial spin or personality. Honestly, it doesn’t take very long to find pretenders!
Strategic language is the ability to string together macro economic factors that apply to your industry and supporting your experiential opinions. Here is where your biases point to your decisiveness when others dither trying to find order in chaos.
Top decision-makers are hungry for opinion-leaders, Thought Leaders, who can lead with them rather than for them.
The MarketOne Executive Bottom Line
To help you think about you potential, I’ve developed a set of questions to help you kick-start you devel. Remember, GIGO (garbage-in equal garbage-out) so take your time with each question.
- What are the key challenges within your chosen industry?
- Why is it important to have Thought Leaders in your industry?
- What is your leadership point of view as it applies to your industry?
- What industry-wide gaps do you see that continue to make your point of view important strategically?
- What is the overall effect of these gaps in your opinion?
- What needs to change? Why?
- What is your solution and how does your point of view provide new directions?