What Does a CEO worth without Thought Leadership?

A CEO’s worth is much more than the bottom line she creates or maintains. One of the key significances of a CEO is to be a thought leader, within her own industry or even in the society at large.

What’s thought leadership?

The term was coined in 1994 by Joel Kurtzman, editor-in-chief of Strategy & Business magazine, to identify interview subjects with business ideas that demanded attention. At BeMyBest, we firmly believe a thought leader:

  • is a respected authority in their field;
  • has the courage to break new ground;
  • thinks in a different way and brings a new perspective;
  • influences and drives change; and
  • raises the bar above what’s been done before.

So you can clearly see the picture of a CEO that has more than just the bottom line to offer.

Why is being a thought leader important?

Isn’t a good product, excellent service or outstanding branding enough? Well, perhaps. But a good leader leaves no stone unturned in pushing the organization forward and giving her company a new significance to the industry or bring the whole industry a new or significant role to society.

But is thought leadership here to serve the bottom line? Yes, but not directly. People won’t be motivated in getting your dividend to shareholders; but they will be interested in your purpose – if that’s going to improve the status quo and lead us to a better place.

Before the internet and social media, thought leadership used to be a sure-fire way to attract free press coverage so as to open doors to new business as well as evidence to your team that your company is dynamic and forward-thinking. However, the internet, and especially social media, means you can now easily build your own platform online to inspire and thus gather your tribe – and thereby making it much easier than before for a CEO to start a movement that transforms – company, industry and society.

Travis-Kalanick of UberLars Kolind Tony Hsieh of Zappos

Examples of CEO’s that are thought leaders for their industry

CEO Travis Kalanick is definitely a thought leader in innovative solutions in founding Uber and Red Swoosh, as well as being a mentor to a number of startups.  He’s also very active on Twitter, defending his business practices and philosophy, which have attracted some controversy and not unusual for thought leaders.

Also check out Lars Kolind’s Spaghetti-organisation in Oticon and Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness in Zappos which exhibit thought leadership that impacts not only their bottom lines but has become a movement in society at large.

Have long been wanting to be thought leader in your field? Call +45 26 16 90 88 for a brainstorming.

By Isabella Lo

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