Thought leadership is a fungus

Fungus is just one of those words that gets your attention. It’s descriptive, but kind of disgusting all at the same time. Like moist. Or like… anyway, I’ll stop before I gross you all out.

If there are environmental conditions that are conducive to thought leadership, they are the damp, dark conditions of high uncertainty.

In plant biology, that’s a great place for mycelial spores to develop into an underground mycelial network and then, seemingly overnight, into the fruiting bodies of mushrooms.

In business, high uncertainty combined with high importance is a great place for thought leadership, which befriends that uncertainty and offers a constructive response to it.

Uncertainty is the food that thought leadership feeds on.

Thought leadership can be something other than a constructive response to uncertainty. It can be a challenge to a decaying status quo. A systematization or refinement of the disordered. An invitation to share a vision of progress.

I think you see my point: thought leadership exists as part of a larger system.

When there’s enough quality thought leadership, it plays a role in changing its host system — interestingly — into one that is less hospitable to future thought leadership. The uncertainty gets reduced, the decay gets re-invigorated, the disordered becomes standardized and modularized. Thought leadership is not solely responsible for this, but it plays a role. If the system is relatively small and relatively closed, then it stops needing as much thought leadership.

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-P