Are You a Thought LEADER or a Thought FOLLOWER

Leader vs follower conceptIn my field, there are hundreds of experts. Some are better known than others. Some are dead or inactive and still have materials and theories available and in use. Many offer certifications in their programs and for a fee, you can be a licensed practitioner of ________.

There’s nothing wrong with that. I can appreciate traditional knowledge.

On the other hand, there are plenty of new thoughts, ideas, models, concepts, and tools that have yet to be invented. If you’re working towards being an expert or thought leader in your field, why not focus on discovering new knowledge?

I’ve seen trends (this is more politically-correct than calling them “fads”) in my field for some time now. Individuals create new ideas, practices, or tools that become standard practice and when they get to that stage, they beckon practitioners to jump in. Soon, RFPs come out asking for a certain certification or designators as a must-have and practitioners rush to get them. This leads to saturation in the market. Certification programs thrive while those who pay for and work hard for get the letters by their name only to find there are too many others now chasing after the same targets. When I lived in the DC area the one I saw most often was a leadership coaching certification program offered through a local college. While it’s a great program, it’s expensive and time-intensive. Only a handful of folks I know with the certification have a successful practice even though every coach you talk to say they have “more clients than they can handle.” Personally, I turn down most requests (and I get lots of them) for individual coaching as it’s too time intensive. To date, nobody has ever asked me if I was certified in anything.

This year, I made a commitment to never again “quote a dead person” in any of my workshops. I figure there is plenty of new knowledge out there and I’m determined to find it. I’ve also transitioned from using tools such as the MBTI and DiSC in favor of the MOFFA™, MBSP™ and MWFL™ online assessments that I created myself.

Rather than follow the conventional methods of demonstrating expertise like program certifications, “guru” licensing, or being a follower of such-and-such, why not brainstorm what you’ve learned and develop it into your own standard operating information. Being certified in Covey, Blanchard, Maxwell, or any of the others is fine, but really the only ones who really benefit are Covey, Blanchard, and Maxwell – the ones who created and license the content. Good for them, but I’m interested in YOU. Let others come to you and beg to be certified rather than you being a follower. There is plenty of undiscovered knowledge out there that will solve today’s problems better and set you up to conquer those of tomorrow. That’s how leaders are born.

This week, no matter what field you’re in, why not become a thought LEADER, not a thought FOLLOWER? The world wants to hear from YOU!