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Thought Leadership

(July 19, 2006) This week, I am writing for Jim Stroud's weblog as a part of the Recruiting Blogswap. From my perspective, Stroud is just the kind of leader that the industry needs. He tirelessly pursues new ideas constantly ready to relieve himself of his preconceptions. From my perch on the sidelines, he seems to be demonstrating the effective use of a broad array of new ideas. The regular readers of his blog are lucky to have a relationship with someone who has enough curiosity to make a difference.

Leadership comes in a variety of forms. Thought Leadership involves doing and saying things in a way that helps others understand their realities in new and more effective ways. Stroud is a part of a class of thought leaders who are rapidly becoming the core of the Recruiting Industry. This is something that happens each business cycle like the blossoming of flowers in late Spring.

Thought Leadership (Joel Cheesman comes to quickly mind) can be risky. Some "out of the box" ideas should never have left the box in the first place. Being an innovator means trying enough of these ideas that some of the failures hover nearby. In some ways, it's being willing to risk your reputation on your ideas that is the very foundation of thought leadership. Success in Thought Leadership, as it is in most areas, is a function of the sheer number of mistakes you learn from.

The recent news from Yahoo (new products and interesting alliances) shows the way that older institutions demonstrate thought leadership. It takes deep credibility with old customers to launch new products successfully. While Yahoo's notions about search products may be passť to the Blogosphere, the typical large company recruiter, a prime example of risk aversion, will find the new offerings (and the potential lash-up with the newspaper industry) to be exciting and cutting edge.

That's a key thing to remember. Having the idea is only one part of the thought leadership story. Execution and demonstration are the other pieces. Ideas, in and of themselves, are a dime a dozen and the province of writers and inventors. Actually doing the thing in a way that others can emulate is worth a Million bucks.

Speaking of which, today, Jobster will announce its second large round of Venture Financing. (see the CEO blog). Jobster is demonstrating industry level Thought Leadership. Their new website simply revolutionizes the idea of a job board. Jason Goldberg, the CEO, is yet another Thought Leader. In Jason's case, however, the idea is to surround himself with thought leaders. Recruiting.com. the brainchild of Jason Davis (yet another innovator) is owned by Jobster.

Goldberg is corralling the current wave of thought leaders under his tent. The core idea is to entirely reinvent the industry with the help of customers and the industry itself. It's a brilliant scheme that stands real danger of success.

To summarize. Thought Leadership is composed of ideas, execution and effective teaching. Each of the leaders we've mentioned today excel at each of the pieces. It's a wonderful time to be in the Recruiting Industry.

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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