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  • Writer's pictureLars Christensen

Ready to be a thought leader by Denise Brosseau


I finished this book in March 2023. I recommend this book 5/10.

It gets good reviews on Amazon, so maybe you love it. It felt like you wake up one day, roll out of bed, and say, "Today, I want to become a thought leader." regardless of experience.

Get your copy here.

My notes and thoughts:

  • XXV. Seven steps to thought leadership:

    • Find your driving passion.

    • Build your ripples of influence.

    • Activate your advocates

    • Put your "I" on the line.

    • Codify your lessons learned.

    • Put yourself on S.H.O.U.T.

    • Incite (R)Evolution.

  • P6. What transforms leaders into thought leaders is their willingness to bring about something new and then to learn from their early efforts and be willing to share their successes and failures, best practices, and lessons learned so that others don't have to start from scratch when it's their turn.

  • P23. Find your niche with a Venn diagram:

    • What are your credentials?

    • What is your expertise or unique experience?

    • What are you committed to or passionate about?

    • Narrow and hone.

    • Identify the "Reasons to Believe."

    • Is there an audience or market need?

  • P49. But having a great idea, even a proven approach, was not enough. After all, PG&E was a one-hundred-year-old company, highly regulated and slow to adopt new ideas. "That's not how things are done around here," was the constant refrain she heard in her initial forays to bring others on board with her efforts. She preserved. "I started with no resources at all. All I had was an understanding that the company was facing an enormous challenge, and I knew that no one was looking at it the same way I was.", "I set up meetings one by one with people I knew within the company whose roles in some way were impacted by the upcoming tidal of retirements." Through these meetings, she gained a clearer picture of who was interested in aligning with her to make PowerPathway a success and who was open to try something new that had never been done before. They became her internal stakeholders.

  • P50. By integrating all of the senior VP's interests into the design of PowerPathway, the program would now meet the goals and align the interests of five different departments in the company as well as a broad set of regional constituencies. This allowed her to overcome many of the internal and external naysayers.

  • P54. What can you do today to nurture divergent and consilient thinking?:

    • Build connections with industry analysts or journalists who can serve as a source of new ideas.

    • Join academic conference committees, advisory groups, or university research teams.

    • Serve on the boards of professional, regional, or industry organizations.

    • Seek appointments to government bodies, policy groups, or award committees where you'll have broad access to a wide network of ideas.

  • P56. Who holds the keys to you adjacent possible? Who might give you advice, and who might join your "team"?

    • Always start by reaching out to your personal board of directors.

    • If you are creating a new initiative internally, look for people from other departments or divisions or individuals who are most likely to be impacted by your activities.

    • If you work in a community role, look for policymakers, board members, or legislators who are focused on the same goals.

    • If you work in a nonprofit, think of clients your nonprofit has served, donors who have supported you, or volunteers and staff members who can weigh in or help you get underway.

    • If you're a technology entrepreneur, look for engineers or experts from your technical arena or related field.

    • You can also look to members of a group you belong to, online or off. This can be any supportive group where confidentiality is guaranteed.

  • P64. Build your ripples of influence:

    • Begin by expanding their "adjacent possible" by sharing their "What if?" future with friends and colleagues to learn what resonates.

    • Are open to adapting an outside idea from another industry or market sector. They use divergent and consilient thinking to assemble a bricolage of existing ideas into a new path they will explore.

    • Identify their strategic stakeholders, including those who owe them "loyalty equity," who can open more doors to a new adjacent possible.

    • Face the naysayers in order to make sure that an audience or group of individuals exists that is interested in the same WIF they are committed to bringing about.

    • Create conversations that are not only "selling: their own idea to others by learning from and incorporating potential stakeholders's ideas into their own.

    • Continually adapt, modify, and redesign their program, project, or process along the way to bring in multiple viewpoints and recommendations.

    • Use zero-based thinking to regularly reassess that they are going in the right direction and let go of perfection.

  • P87. How to create a one-page message template:

    • Issue: What is the core idea or issue you're focused on? What is your "What if?" future?

    • Summary: Summarize the idea or issue in one sentence.

    • Objective: Why are you trying to increase awareness of this idea or issue? What do you want to occur as a result of raising awareness?

    • Audience/Constituents: Who are your audiences or constituents?

    • Influencers: What stakeholders or constituents influence your audience? Who has to be on board for your constituents to believe in or agree to align with your efforts?

    • What's in it for them: Why should your target audience get involved?

    • What holds them back: Why might they not get involved?

    • Channels: What internal and external channels are you going to use, for example, news media, speeches, testimony, customer and employee communications, publications, and events?

    • Unspoken message: What are you trying to convey without saying it out loud? This is the hidden or underlying message in your communication that may not be as widely accepted if put in so many words. It may be the "not so political correct" reason behind your actions or the not yet accepted truth that you believe, but others do not.

    • Spoken message 1: What is your first message, and what are your three proof points?

    • Spoken message 2: What is your second message, and what are your three proof points?

    • Spoken message 3:

    • FAQ: What questions are people likely to ask? What objections will they have to your ideas or point of view? What are the best responses to those questions?

    • Keywords: What are the five to ten keywords (#hashtags) that best align with your message?

  • P90. One other little trick: create a tie between what you're doing and something that your listener is familiar with. In Silicon Valley, I often hear companies pitch their ideas by saying something in the vein of, "We are creating the Yelp! for business software," or "we are the Pinterest for political information." Both of those descriptions immediately bring to mind big successes while simultaneously giving someone a shortcut to understand what you're doing. How could you pitch your idea by trying it to something familiar?

  • P91. In my role as a campaign fundraiser, when I first met someone, my goal was to get them to write a small check and wear a campaign button for my candidate. Next, I'd ask them to put a bumper sticker on their car and then a lawn sign in their front yard. At each stage, I hoped for a larger and larger investment in the candidate's success. Ultimately, what I really wanted was for them to write me a very large check and put a gigantic billboard on top of their house with my candidate's name prominently displayed in neon lights.

  • P113. Are you playing a big game! Are your concerns worthy of taking you out of the game?—When you are stuck in the day-to-day, remind yourself: You are betting on yourself, and small obstacles are not going to be in your way.

  • P114. Could you create a failure report at the end of each year to celebrate your failures and your willingness to take risks? What sign do you need to put on your wall to encourage you to keep taking big risks?


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