Three tips for building thought leaders and do leaders

14 May

Mindjet has a great post on thought leaders verses do leaders.  The difference between them isn’t nearly as important as the fact that (a) you can play both roles and (b) effective organizational teams have both.  But, the question for me as a leader is: How do I build teams that have thought leaders and do leaders so you can get products?

Build switch hitters:  One of the most valuable players on any baseball team is the switch hitter (think Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose, and Eddie Murray).  Having people who can switch between both roles is clutch for any project you are leading and sometimes you have to build those people by figuring out what their natural preference is and then giving opportunities that matter to learn the other style.  Who are your natural thought and do leaders?  What are the strengths in their natural style?  How might you give them real opportunities to build skills essential to the other style?

Change up your processes: Growth doesn’t occur without some degree of discomfort.  One way to create discomfort is to use process design to force people into different roles.  Asking your thought leaders to focus on service delivery may help them yield insights into service delivery than will refine the programmatic offering.  A great resource for this is gamestorming, but any list of design-thinking tools will be a great starting point.  How might you get people into new roles in your organization?  How can you  help people grow their learnings

Be explicit: Not everyone reads leadership blogs, social psychology books, and other resources like you do.  Sometimes, giving people enough information to understand where you want them to go, why it matters, and how you are going to get them there is quite helpful. How might you engage your team in a conversation about the thought leader/do leader framework?

How do you build teams that think in multiple frames?

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