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Thought Leadership: Myth or Reality

I have been preaching about the value of thought leadership in the realm of corporate finance to anyone who would listen to me for over 10 years now. I am thrilled to see that the term “thought leadership” is gaining traction. However, I am even more frustrated that very few companies who throw out the term "thought leadership" seem to have any idea what it really means. Most who use the term thought leadership choose to use it as a “bait and switch” tactic to lure in potential customers to a webinar, seminar, blog, or whitepaper, only to deliver a sales pitch.

Thought leadership is delivered when information helps someone in any or all of the following ways:

  • Ask the right questions
  • Identify issues and opportunities
  • Perform better at their job
  • Positively impacts a career
  • Helps make someone a better boss or employee

Anything being represented as thought leadership should offer you ROI for your time that includes at least one of the components listed above, and not include any type of plea for your business or touts the virtues of a specific product or service. For those of you misusing the term thought leadership, shame on you. For those of you who do it right, thank you. For those of you who want to know what it really is, just ask one of us that gets it (note I did not ask anyone to contact me as I consult in this very arena).


Gary Cokins
Title: Founder
Company: Analytics-Based Performance Management L..
(Founder, Analytics-Based Performance Management LLC) |

Ernie ... You have written a nice piece. Thanks. Good observations.

A coincidence with your title. In this link is a similar message of an article I authored titled "Enterprise and Corporate Performance Management (EPM/CPM) -- Myth or Reality?"

Gary ... Gary Cokins

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