By: Jay Wiley – Bayshore Solutions’ Vice President

During Bayshore Solutions annual strategy session a number of initiatives were identified for the upcoming year.  One of our initiatives was to determine how Bayshore Solutions can continue to develop, enhance and promote Thought Leadership within the company.  In other words, how do we encourage and motivate our employees to become thought leaders within Bayshore Solutions and the community?

Wikipedia cites the definition of thought leadership as:  An entity that is recognized by its peers for having innovative ideas.  Thought leaders often publish articles and blog posts on trends and topics influencing an industry.  Thought leaders win industry awards, sit on community boards and associations, appear on T.V., are quoted in newspapers and magazines and give speeches at community events.  To me a thought leader is also someone who comes up with ideas outside of the norm; a person who can look at a problem or challenge and identify a solution that no one else can see or lead a team to find the answer.

The employees at Bayshore Solutions do all of the things mentioned above. And demonstrated thought leadership is increasingly becoming a requirement for success in many industries – especially in Web design, development and digital marketing, where we operate.  The challenge now is uncovering how to encourage even more thought leadership, while continuing to service our existing clients and meet our financial goals.  One of the biggest challenges in our business is that we are paid for our time.  We provide a service and our expertise in the industry and apply those to new ideas, existing websites, problem solving, development pieces etc.

How can we challenge our employees to become thought leaders?  Can it be taught through school, online training, books, magazines etc.?  Can it be magically transferred during a conference of like-minded individuals?  Is it spawned during organized thinking sessions or, in my case, many, many hours sitting in a deer stand with nothing else to do?  I think it’s all of the above.   I doubt there’s a “Thought Leadership for Dummies” book that once you read you become an expert in the industry.

I believe it starts with the make-up of our team members.  Inherent curiosity and desire to learn needs to exist in the individuals that comprise our team. They should want to learn more and educate themselves through books, magazines, conferences, blogs, website, etc.  And the organization needs to encourage, incent and underwrite or provide these learning opportunities. I also believe that the company’s culture needs to encourage thought leadership, even at the potential detriment of utilization as long as there is a plan and a desired outcome.  Over the next couple of weeks and months a team consisting of Bayshore employees from all different departments will be working together to tackle this challenge and propose plans to continue moving Bayshore Solutions in the forefront of thought leadership.  I’ll keep you posted.


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