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March 2007
ISSN 1834-4933. Published by Geoff Kelly, Kelly Strategic Influence

Wisdom to lead minds:

"The greatest ruler acts as he speaks, and tailors his speech to his actions.”

Confucius

Five secrets that great thought leaders know and use

Some leaders stand out from the crowd and drive their ideas to pre-eminence. Others have great ideas and strategies, but fail to cut through with those who matter most.

Here are five ways you can walk in the footprints of the first group.

  1. Convey valuable and genuine meaning. Convey substance that will make a meaningful difference to those you most want to influence. This alone will set you apart in a world plagued by meaningless abstractions and mindless chatter. Now go further for real impact. Have the courage to reveal the truth that you have distilled from your experience and reflection. Avoid relying solely on the last book you read or any other vehicle of someone else's experience. Draw it from your own experience and reflect to distil the essence for those you want to influence with your idea. You have, or can develop, a unique and valuable insight that you can translate into compelling meaning for others. This is the most important asset you have in achieving pre-eminence for your ideas. More about creating genuine meaning in a future issue.

  2. Continue to learn from wide sources. While the essential character of your idea comes from within, you need to inform it and place it in proper context by continuing to learn and evolve your thinking. What do you learn from the experiences of your colleagues? Your staff? Your customers? How often do you associate with and learn from with people not in your normal social and business networks? Multiply these experiences and purposefully reflect on how they might fit with and enrich your own understanding.

  3. Develop a clear end-to-end strategy for your core idea. This is a mapped out thought leadership strategy where you honestly assess where you are now, including all the unknowns and flaws, the full vision where you want to be, and what you are going to do to connect these points. Establishing pre-eminence for an idea is not haphazard, but takes clear strategy and persistent effort. Most fail because they start with only a half-baked strategy, then they lose confidence and focus when diverted by the first few obstacles they encounter. And support your strategy with a system that makes it happen.

  4. Take daily action to maintain focus. Leaders who successfully establish and maintain pre-eminence for their ideas make them part of their life and work. No-one has time to perform well at non-core activities. You've seen it many times. They have good intentions, but try to fit it in after hours and on weekends. They are really telling themselves that this isn't as important as their day job, and in fact for them it really isn't. You can tell how serious someone is about anything by looking in their diary and at their budget. If they are not spending quality time on something (or paying someone else to do some of that for them) then no matter what they tell themselves or anyone else, it simply isn't that important to them. If it was, they would shift something else to make room for it.  Every day ask yourself these questions about your core ideas: “What can I do oday to better understand this idea?” and “What can I do today to better distil and explain this idea to those most important to its success?”

  5. Ensure you visibly walk your talk. Don't be the telephone company where callers are left hanging until the line drops out. Or the CEO who extols the virtues of spending quality time with his or her peers and staff, then is largely unavailable due to extensive travel and outside meetings. Whether you aspire to lead others with new frames on getting better outcomes with people at work, how organisations transform themselves, or how we can better adapt to the consequences of Greenhouse, regularly check to ensure that what you do is consistent with what you say. When was the last time you tested that? 

Future issues of Leading Minds will expand upon these and other powerful truths that will set you apart as you build your leadership on your ideas and strategies.

More next month...

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Geoff Kelly works with leaders who are frustrated that others don't fully support their ideas and strategies. He mainly works with corporate leaders around the world, but also leaders in Government and Not for Profit. He is also a popular speaker on this and related subjects. See www.kellystrategicinfluence.com.au, email gkelly@kellystrategicinfluence.com.au or call +613 9678 9218 for more information

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© 2006 Geoff Kelly All rights reserved.
You are free to use material from the Leading Minds eZine in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear. The attribution should read: "By Geoff Kelly of Kelly Strategic Influence. Please visit Geoff's web site at www.kellystrategicinfluence.com.au for additional articles and resources on earning support for your ideas and strategies." (Make sure the link is live if placed in an eZine or in a web site.)

 


 

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