Becoming a Thought Leader

One of the most interesting things about the global mobility industry is that it is an enigma to people outside of the industry. They think they understand it on the surface, but usually, they only have a very high-level understanding of what it actually entails and the many moving parts and roles that factor into making it happen.

So for that reason, those of us immersed in it hold the knowledge that others outside of it do not. We can use that knowledge to our benefit. Whether it is a specific segment of the industry or within our own company, using our specific expert knowledge to help others makes you a thought leader.

Here is a definition of thought leadership by Denise Brosseau of Thought Leadership Lab:

“Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas; turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success. Over time, they create a dedicated group of friends, fans, and followers to help them replicate and scale their ideas into sustainable change not just in one company but in an industry, niche, or across an entire ecosystem.”

We are lucky to have many thought leaders in our industry. They readily share with competitors within our associations for the betterment of the overall industry. It may or may not be to their direct financial gain. But the benefits usually come back around indirectly through credibility and reputation and overall improvement of services.

Thought leadership is the key that can unlock a whole new level of professional accomplishment and achievement as well as career and personal satisfaction. People have asked me why I give away so much information. It is because I want the industry to be better and just because I share what I have learned along the way, doesn’t mean they will replicate it exactly. Planting a seed of an idea in someone’s head leaves it open to grow based on their own interpretation.

Don’t mistake social media influencers for thought leaders. Influencers have usually gained followers for one-dimensional areas of expertise that usually don’t involve moving the viewer forward in any meaningful way. It’s not about ego or likes, but about growth.

Thought leadership is not just about sharing our ideas and expertise, it is also about persuading others to move things in a different direction. To be a thought leader means having a passion, sharing our passion, and building a group of supporters who believe in what we have to say.

The first step in being a thought leader is sharing ideas. Here are some ways to make your mark out there in the industry:

  • Become a guest columnist for industry magazines, social media pages, or websites

  • Help out local reporters and write for a local paper to explain a segment of the business to the public. HARO matches people with reporters in need of experts.

  • Do online training or webinars for those new to the industry

  • Start a blog

  • Create a podcast and invite other thought leaders to share their knowledge or offer to go on other people’s podcasts

  • Use video to share your wisdom on YouTube or any of the various social media platforms

  • Offer to be on committees, boards or speak at industry events and within your own company

  • Do press releases when you win awards and offer to help others seeking to excel in that area

  • Offer to speak to related industry service providers to share your specific knowledge with them

  • Be willing to be a bit controversial at times, if it moves the dialog forward

  • Watch social media groups you follow online and answer questions that are posed to the group

  • Publish articles on LinkedIn or share other people’s articles reinforcing your expertise with an introduction to the article

Relocation Directors are thought leaders in their own company regarding relocation. No one knows more about it and the unique way they deliver their services. They are also real estate experts. They are thought leaders in the global mobility world when it comes to their local market and how real estate is handled.

Share that wisdom whenever you can and question the way it has always been done. We can’t be threatened by the fear that someone may surpass us with more knowledge or better ideas. We have to look at it as an opportunity to collectively grow and move our industry and ourselves forward, even if our ideas are shot down from time to time. Be willing to stir things up a bit. That is how we leave our legacy.

A thought leader is someone who looks at the future and sets a course for it that others will follow. Thought leaders look at existing best practices then come up with better practices. They foment change, often causing great disruption.” – Shel Israel, writer, Forbes


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