Creating a “thought leadership culture” throughout your organization

What are your firm’s feelings and policies towards employees who want to participate in thought-leadership activities like blogging and writing books?

Does your firm support employees who want to write on their own time, or is it concerned or threatened by employee blogging and writing?

The problem is certain to come up more and more frequently, as technology continues to open up new opportunities to write and share ideas.

Advantages enjoyed by “thought leadership cultures”

Firms that actively support thought leadership cultures can benefit in both obvious and subtle ways. Some of the benefits include:

  • Obvious benefits. Published books remain one of the strongest branding tools available. Books enjoy high-visibility, especially valuable to firms selling intangibles ( ideas and images). A well-written, helpful, and timely book can create a halo-effect around all of a firm’s products and services which can be leveraged to increased awareness and respect.
  • Subtle benefits. Even more important that reinforcing a firm’s bond with thought leaders and various market segments in its field are the subtle effects that a writing culture encourages throughout an organization. By sharing the tools of writing competency throughout all levels, firms can raise their employee’s abilities to think clearly and creatively, and communicate more effectively, on all types of written communications, from e-mails and memos up to presentations and proposals.

What does it cost to encourage a thought-leadership culture?

Given the benefits of staff-wide enthusiasm and enhanced abilities to think more clearly and write more persuasively, the costs can be relatively modest.

As always, small, simple steps may be best in the beginning, such as:

  • Shared resources. Strategically-placed shelves containing writing resources like books about writing could draw attention the firm’s interest in helping improve their staff’s writing abilities. Likewise, offering access to online writing resources could raise staff enthusiasm for clear writing at minimum cost per month.
  • Workshops and training. Another way firms could demonstrate their interest in their staff’s thought leadership program would be to set up internal events, like presentations and workshops, to educate their staff about the realities of getting published in 2010.
  • Incentives. Another high-visibility, low-cost way to demonstrate interest in staff writing and reading would be to use Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Border’s gift cards as staff incentives and rewards.
  • Writing coaches. Newspapers frequently have staff writing coaches, perhaps firms interested in being branded as thought-leadership firms should consider hiring a full-time or part-time writing coaches to guide their employees as they learn the ropes of writing and publishing.

At first glance, some of the above ideas may appear to be utopian in today’s age of “making more with less.” Yet, given the power of brand and image, the potential rewards firms could enjoy would dwarf the start-up costs of a well-run thought leadership program.

Roger C. Parker is currently writing a book on book titles–his 39th book–for THiNKaha books. His previous books have sold 1.6 million copies around the world. Roger’s Published & Profitable offers online support for authors planning, writing, promoting, and profiting from published books.