I hear the term “thought leader” every day now. I have friends with job titles like “VP Thought Leadership.” Another friend follows thought leaders – what they write, where they work, probably even what they are wearing. I find it amusing because she’s really one of the great thought leaders I have ever known. I always picture this thought leader bunch sitting with their chins resting on their hands, like Rodin’s beautiful bronze and marble statue.
Thought leadership sprang from innovation, and as I now understand it (having given it a lot of thought), people who are paragons of thought leadership are innovators who have figured out how to monetize their ideas. That’s how a guy who turns an online casino gaming idea into a company and then sells it for $500 million gets labeled a thought leader. Money talks to thought leaders in ways others just don’t understand!
Stephen Covey, one of the greatest thought leaders of the past few decades, died today. I must have read his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book at least 7 times. Covey led me to change how I lived my life from a position of scarcity to one of abundance. I learned to “begin with the end in mind” and to “synergize” – through working with and leading teams to do things together they never would have been able to accomplish alone. Everyone who has read Covey’s book has a favorite habit. My personal favorite is number five, the habit I share with thought leader friends everywhere: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Brilliant and so easy to comprehend!
What’s your favorite of the 7 Habits? I’d like to know, and I’d like to know why, so please feel free to comment here.
Thank you, Stephen Covey, for autographing my now dog-eared book when I heard you speak at Winner’s Circle Breakfast Club in Hawaii in 1986. More importantly, thank you for being a pioneer in the realm of creating high-performing teams, companies and families. Your remarkable thought leadership is now your legacy, which is no doubt the end you had in mind.