If you make a living by writing, speaking, consulting, or training—in short, through leading people with your ideas—then John Butman and Peter Winick are two people who merit your attention. I’ve posted about John here, so let’s turn to Peter.
Peter runs a business called Thought Leadership Leverage that enables “thought leaders, authors and gurus to monetize their content through books, keynote speaking, the creation of training services and products and consulting and assessment tools.” In short, he’s about helping people make money and make a difference with their ideas.
I don’t envy Peter. He probably spends his days with people who suffer from guru-itis. This is a syndrome marked by intelligence, a burning desire to get published, a large ego, and an allergy toward crap-detecting one’s cherished ideas.
Working with gurus can be inspiring and exasperating at the same time. At any given moment, you might want to hug them or throw something at them. Peter offers more enlightened responses. Check out the following examples of his blog posts.
Powerful content changes the way people think, believe, behave and act. It transforms mediocre groups into highly productive and engaged teams. It can, and does, alter the very fabric of global organizations, and in a few instances powerful content goes on to change the world.
Chances are you’re not the only person interested in leadership skills or productivity or whatever your specialty is—there are volumes of academic research, research done by people with lots of fancy letters after their name, that you can use to strengthen your content.
All good content leads to an observable behavior change. Your work may teach me to present better, be a better listener, be more innovative, generate more leads, close sales faster or manage more effectively. I can observe if it’s working or not based on how people behave after engaging with your body of work…. in the aggregate those small improvements correlate directly to a business result.
The world is flooded with content today and most of it is just not good. In fact there’s a ton of thoughtless nonsense out there every day for people to waste their time with. It’s honorable to have a point of view, to stick with your guns, and be ok with offending some folks on occasion.
You need to clearly and concisely articulate the heart and soul of your content, the essence of your platform. And most importantly, you need to be sure your manifesto doesn’t suck. Data is good but this is not a document that has an appendix or a table or a bibliography. It needs to explain to people why your work matters, why they need to embrace it, and why it’s urgent to their needs.
What’s the problem that your work is trying to solve? The world does not need another leadership model, management model or sales model. It does however need thoughtful and impactful content that solves problems for individuals, teams, and organizations.