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Thought Leaders – a variation on the term by Sue Knight

Sue Knight

Sue Knight

“Our object is to discover what you really want – it is not an easy task”
The Potent Self – Moshe Feldenkrais

“I must get the roof repaired before the winter sets in” was the first reply from a group to my invitation for examples of work and life goals. In thinking about the topic of Thought Leaders I am reminded of all the goals that I have explored with people over the years and what is characteristic of those people that are held up as exemplars in their leadership style.

The way we think about our goals is one of the telling traits of whether we have the characteristics of a leader or not. A leader in this case being someone who inspires others to follow them, someone who is admired and copied as a model of excellence and someone who consistently achieves the goals that they set themselves.

So what would be your answer to the invitation?

What is an example of a goal that you hold for yourself in life or work right now. Hold that thought as we explore some of the characteristics that seem to make a difference between leaders and followers. The answer given above is not untypical; when asked what did he want this goal for – the person replied “so that we can be warm in winter” Very often we express as a goal something that is really a part of what we believe to be the solution. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it is by far the minority of people who know what they really want and are prepared to keep an open mind about what might be some of the solutions about how to achieve it. A state of not knowing is far from one of stupidity – it is one of great courage and openness to creative new ways of going forward. So what is the answer when you ask yourself – “what for?”

A few more questions to ask yourself that reveals something about the quality of your goals.

Is the goal within your influence – if you have a goal which is centred on changing someone else – forget it. It needs to be about you. And you are always a part of the system that involves others. Change yourself and you change the world. But you can’t change others without that…

Is the goal a WIN/WIN goal in other words is it a WIN not only for you but for the significant others in your life. If not you might find yourself battling against the bigger system. Leaders whose goals are sustainable over time look to contribute authentically to the bigger systems of which they belong.. Money for money’s sake was the source of much of the economic disasters that we have experienced in recent times..

Is the goal what you REALLY want or is it what you feel you must or should or have to have. There is one very simple way to tell. As you think about your goal do your muscles tense or does the thought of the goal send tingles down you spine? A quote I love says “The 3 demons to personal effectiveness are Fovial Vision, Inner Noise and Muscle Tension”. If you experience any of them you are getting in your own way!

There are more questions that you can be asking … but I think that I may have reached my article word count limit..

And that person whose goal was to repair their roof so that they can be warm in winter…? Well when they broadened their horizons in their thinking about their goal they realised a very different solution.. – to live in India!!!

You can read more about Sue’s work in relation to goals and leadership in her book NLP at Work (3rd edition) and you can find out more about her NLP based leadership programmes in the UK, France, Australia and India (where she lives in the winter!!) on her web or contact her direct on 01628604438 or

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by sue knight, Andy Coote, Bizwords. Andy Coote, Bizwords said: Reading Thought Leaders – a variation on the term by author of 'NLP at Work' – Sue Knight How do you think about goals? […]

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