Thought Leadership: Innovation – Not the Knock Out Game

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Thought Leader vs. Doer

Several years ago, I wrote a post about Thought Leader vs. Doer – it was a nice little diddy that prompted several comments and delightful exchanges.

Comments like this:
“The guy who led the charge of the Light Brigade was probably a thought leader and look what happened to the Light Brigade. Maybe a thought leader is somebody who knows how to get out of the mess he led everybody into. Or maybe it’s just the guy who thought about things enough to pee before he got on the airplane.” – S. McCartt

“True thought leadership is at the macro level. The way that we do recruiting and many of the changes and enhancements to how we conduct our craft has probably at some point been influenced by a thought leader whether that is a person or an organization.” – D.B. White

“The truth is – most people – don’t really think too much beyond the given accepted norms of their profession. When the entire population of any given profession does things a certain way – even when other methods may prove to be far more beneficial – it’s much easier to provide the service that everyone else provides – and in the same manner. An entire field of recruiters made a living posting jobs on Monster and racing each morning to be the first to blast over any resumes that replied over to their clients before the other recruiters posting the same jobs did.” – J. Albright

Has anything changed?

I guess I recall this because I wonder if much has changed since February of 2010.  Have we come to accept that “thought leader” is no longer just a buzz word or an easily thrown against the wall phrase?  Have we accepted that some people do and think, some people think and do – some people do what they can and some people think beyond their personal capabilities but are able to inspire and lead others in their charge?  I work in a space that is insanely competitive providing solutions for different organizations’ HR departments which reside, in turn, in their own insanely competitive industries.  I have work to do – I am paid to do that work.  It is my job and luckily, it is also my love.  Not everyone can say that.

There are days when I rise at 4 am to take a call from London or Paris or Montreal, NY or Boston.  There are also days when I stay up until midnight writing blog posts like this one – because I can and because I must – I am compelled to do so.  I am a living, thinking, breathing firestorm that is only controlled by chocolate, a nice red, and exhaustion.  And sadly, I cannot help everyone – though I want to desperately.  I receive daily requests for jobs, resume help, networking ideas, connection requests, guest blogs, guest podcasts, and the list goes on and on.  I wish days were 36 hours long and a week was ten of those days — I just might get done everything I needed to get done if I had 360 hours in a week.  The truth is the older I get, the faster time flies – which is tragic when one considers the wisdom gained with age.   <stop the world, I want to get off>

The Knock Out Game?

So each of us gives what we can, when we can, if we want to. Not everyone wants to and not everyone can.  But this isn’t the knockout game – no one is cracking anyone upside the head and giggling as they run off into the sunset, having been successful at what? Knocking someone out?  Tearing apart another’s world? The universal code of ethics used to be a “wonderful world” thought – the idea that no one walks up to an elderly woman and just pushes her down, that wouldn’t be right.  Guess what?  People do that now… And it is a crushing blow to society.  A crushing blow to humanity.  And this isn’t us – it isn’t me.

Thought Leaders are not Winners in the Knock Out Game

Thoughts – words appropriately placed – can be brilliant commentary and direction from someone who has been there or is there – is not a drive-by blast – it is a hand extended.  It is a stepping stone, a cane, a walker, a hand under your elbow.  It is part of the humanity given today.  This is how we can help each other… this is how we can lift one another.  I have made the best friends, discovered incredible mentors, developed massive amounts of respect by reading the thoughts of others, by embracing unfamiliar messages and by weeping tears of sweet understanding when that light bulb clicks on and head bows in appreciation of word artistry.  We are all thought leaders.  We are all doers. We are all innovators traversing the complicated and twisted road of personal discovery, monumental change, increased knowledge, kinetic power of self, and the expelling of what once was.  Innovation of self – innovation of thought.  When thought became action…

“Calling anyone who stretches to create new ideas within any given industry a thought leader does seem a bit odd though.
How about innovator? Can you agree with that Rayanne? Or is that a bit over the top as well?” – Jerry Albright

Not over the top, Jerry – actually spot on.


by Rayanne Thorn





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