Thought Leader Life with Dave Gardner (@Gardner_Dave) #011

In this episode of Thought Leader Life, guest thought leader Dave Gardner shares his insights on why thought leadership is a “journey” rather than a “destination.” As a mass customization expert with 22 years of consulting experience, Dave is recognized for his ability to accelerate the business growth of companies through enterprise-wide change initiatives. Dave and I (who took on this episode without my co-host Michael, who was on vacation at the time) exchange some interesting thoughts on how someone can be a thought leader by establishing him or herself as a “go-to” person in a specific field or area of expertise.

In the interview, Dave traces back his journey from the time I offered him to write a book on mass customization in 2007, to finally publishing the book – Mass Customization: An Enterprise and Business Strategy – in 2009. He eventually became an expert blogger for Fast Company, and had written articles about large companies, such as Dell and HP, with a style that is edgy, provocative, and points out what is not going well about the respective company. By doing so, Dave has been approached by these companies to ask his help on improving and advancing their ideas in the marketplace. Dave points out that it is so hard to stand out in today’s world because there’s so much stuff being written, and what a thought leader like him does is to know how to engage with the marketplace and understand what is provocative for the marketplace.

Dave refers to the thought leadership funnel as he notes that the most important part of the thought leadership journey is creating awareness, and this was exactly what he did when he wrote the book to get his “opinion out there to the world.” Dave takes inspiration from his mentor Alan Weiss, who said, “speak and write, speak and write, speak and write.”

Towards the end of the show, Dave gives a preview of his meeting with the Dalai Lama at his Alma Mater, Santa Clara University, and shares the reason why this meeting is a check mark on his bucket list.

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Here are some “‘aha’ moments” from the episode. See more in the upcoming book, soon to be a part of the THiNKaha app-only book series and watch the interview below!

A great technique of a thought leader is to point out not just the good things, but – when companies are going off course – the bad things as well. @THiNKaha

You have to do things that are appropriate and budget-conscious, yet really add value to your organization. @Gardner_Dave

“I love what I do. It’s fun!” is a statement every thought leader should be able to make. @THiNKaha

Thought leadership is not about the destination, it is about the journey. It is a lifelong journey. @Gardner_Dave

Follow Dave on Twitter at @Gardner_Dave. Tune into Thought Leader Life every Saturday for more thought-leader goodness!