Thought Leadership Defined

Anyone who has walked into the “Leadership” and/or “Self-Help” sections of a local library or bookstore can attest to the expansive, even overwhelming amount of literature and content that has previously been written about the many forms and aspects of good leadership. Many, many authors seems to have a thing or two to say on a subject, and like to use their own names and terms to describe them. Rather than adding to the enormous plethora that exists, this article will try to summarize and disseminate a portion of what already has been written on the topic of Thought Leadership.

Being both commonly known of, yet frequently misunderstood, it seems plausible and wise to investigate the original source of the phrase ‘Thought Leadership’. Widely recognized as the man who coined the phrase, Joel Kurtzman first named and discussed this style of leading in 1994 as part of his work as editor-in-chief of “strategy+business”, a magazine published under the company he worked for (Booz & Co) that gave a forum for worthwhile and innovative ideas to be created and spread. Kurtzman later authored the book Common Purpose, a 2010 publication where Thought Leadership and other innovation-oriented topics are discussed in depth.

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