By Jon Michail | The Imagemaker Blog

As the Agile principles of project management replace the more traditional Waterfall style,  there’s an increasing need for project managers to embrace certain aspects of Thought Leadership.

If you’re developing a new product or service and leading a team of like-minded individuals, it makes sense that you’ll become the spokesperson for the duration of the journey. In Thought Leadership terms, that journey begins with the initial vision.

You can’t start when the final version of the product is ready because it’ll be too late. That’s because the principles of Thought Leadership include time, consultation, and sharing.

I spoke to Dave Wright – Managing Director of QVC Solutions and past president of PMI – Queensland and he said, Time is essential to develop your position as a credible spokesperson that clients, stakeholders, industry peers and even the competition will respect. That doesn’t just happen overnight.

Developing public speaking and presentation skills, creating a personal branding strategy, enlarging your social media base, and building up awareness of, not just your product but YOU, all takes time. So when your product is ready to launch, everyone will already know about it and trust your vision.”

Consulting with company bosses is easy. They expect it. But consulting with your clients? Many project managers start with a vision that is out of step with what clients need. It may even be obsolete by the time it’s produced. When you consult widely right from the beginning, you’ll discover solutions to your cleints’ challenges. They might not have even crossed your mind. Consultation can be as easy as sending out a question as a tweet, “Hey, what do you guys think about…?”

Sharing information is one of the most important aspects of Thought Leadership. It is part of the reason why we are moving from a knowledge based economy to a wisdom based one. Hoarding knowledge doesn’t do anyone any favours. Sharing is how Thought Leadership came to be.

Yes, sharing is tied up with networking and connecting with like-minded people, but it’s more than that. It’s about generously giving your time to help others and mutually reaping the rewards. For example, guest blogging on someone else’s website for free. They get your content, you get the added exposure.

When you have a controversial opinion, or a brand new vision, sharing it is the only way you’ll be heard. And with technology giving us the opportunity to reach an even wider audience than ever before, the trickle down effects on sales and profits are cumulative.

“If you are going to make a sustainable difference you must communicate it. Your thought leadership is essential to your market positioning” said Wright.

After all, people want to be where other people are. People buy things based on their friends’ recommendations. People want to be part of a community. People want to fit in. Creating and leading are based on your vision that are parts of your thought leadership. And if you’re already spearheading a project and leading a team, you’re in a pretty solid position to action it. The question is – when will you?



Jon Michail is Group CEO of Image Group International, an award winning author and recognised as Australasia’s No 1 image coach. Image Group International supports executives, entrepreneurs and their organisations to become iconic and monetised leadership brands.

He is a regular commentator in international media organsations ABC, CNN, NBC, Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Success, The Financial Review and Vogue.



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