To help me to better understand this concept, I recently visited some of the leading websites on the topic of thought leadership, gathered some of the best ideas, strategies and tactics about it, and distilled them into the mind map above, which summarizes:
- The commonly-accepted principles of achieving thought leadership,
- The tactics that appear to work to establish one’s reputation as a thought leader in their niche of choice,
- How mind mapping can help (we’ll talk more about how that works in just a moment),
- Some key ideas and concepts for you to think about can help you to enhance your thought leadership, and
- Some websites you can visit to learn more about this concept.
You can view a larger, expanded version of the mind map above (including clickable links to a number of thought leadership resources) by clicking on the image above.
How mind mapping can help with thought leadership
Mind mapping software is an incredible canvas for exploring your thinking and recording, manipulating, distilling and converting your insights into white papers, blog posts, presentations and other forms of content. No other type of productivity software gives you this level of flexibility and creativity.
Mind mapping software is particularly valuable in helping you to build thought leadership because:
It exposes your thinking, converting it from indistinct thoughts in your head into concrete words and phrases on your computer screen. That’s very powerful, because your conscious mind can only hold only 6 or 7 thoughts at one time. By freeing up your “mental RAM,” mind mapping helps you to tap into a deeper level of thoughts and ideas. Because mind mapping leverages your brain’s powerful associative capabilities, it helps you to access ideas that are at the edge of your thinking. This may be territory you rarely get to explore, unless you have thinking tools that can help you to drill down below the veneer of your usual thoughts.
Mind mapping is a marvelous tool for enabling you to view both the forest and the trees, and to see connections and relationships that weren’t visible any other way. It’s a marvelous tool for systems thinking!
Finally, mind mapping is a boon to thought leaders because it enables you to envision “white space” ideas – ideas that are between the existing or known concepts, strategies and orthodoxies in your niche.
The bottom line: Thought leadership equals thinking differently
The bottom line is that thought leadership is all about thinking differently – about having a distinct vision about your organization, your customers, your industry or profession and the forces that are shaping it. You need to communicate a unique perspective – and I’m convinced that mind mapping is a powerful tool that can help you to develop a deep, well-thought out position on issues that matter to the people you’re trying to influence.
How are you using mind mapping software to think deeply about your industry, profession or niche? I’d love to hear your insights!