The Thought Leadership Challenge

The late Dr. David Winn was nationally renowned for his expertise in laser dentistry. Dr. Brett Kessler is celebrated for his dedication to restoring the smiles of recovering methamphetamine addicts so that they can return to the workforce. Dr. Anil Idiculla is known for his philanthropy, as he donates his time and resources to more than a half dozen charities on a regular basis. Dr. Aldo Leopardi is known for his rock-n-roll music and edgy music videos.

What are you known for? What do you want to be known for?

What do you know about? What is your area of expertise, passion or deep interest, either within or outside of the field of dentistry?

The answers to these questions will begin to reveal your area of thought leadership. Denise Brosseau, author of Ready to Be a Thought Leader? defines thought leadership as “your driving passion… the one area where your interests, expertise, credibility, and commitment align.”

Not only is thought leadership a cornerstone of your practice brand, it is also at the heart of your personal creativity, which is the fire that fuels your practice. If it is fascinating to you, it will be fascinating to those who associate with you.

Try this thought leadership exercise for 30 days, and see how it changes your practice. More importantly, see how it changes you:

  1. Claim. Choose a topic about which you are passionate. Suicide prevention. All-on-fours. Teenage hormones. Myobrace. Dust mites. Anything that sparks your interest and gets you jazzed.
  2. Consume. Set up Google Alerts to get daily or weekly alerts in your email inbox on the topic of your choice. Read voraciously. Explore what Google Alerts sends, follow links, get lost in the blogosphere. Spend evenings at the public library or local bookstore. Buy more books than you need. Ask colleagues to share their insights. Explore art on the topic. Listen to music related to it. Seep yourself in your muse. Find yourself in the enjoyment of your subject.
  3. Create. This is key. Consumption of knowledge is not enough. As the expert in your given area of thought leadership, it is your duty to yourself and to your community to process what you have learned and to create from that inner place of understanding and contributing. Write articles. Design infographics. Paint paintings. Write songs. Create as often and as much as you can, from whatever talent you might (or might not!) possess. And…
  4. Share. Post to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. Or email your creations to all of your colleagues. Hold a study club meeting and teach on your findings. Sharing can be as formal or informal as your muse and personality desire. The important thing is that your thoughts are shared. That is how they are born into thought leadership.

Thought leadership has the power to ignite conversation, change and even – if you are brave enough – controversy.

Are you ready?