Against “Good Enough”

Recently I overheard a manager (not one of ours, mercifully) utter one of the most pernicious phrases that can apparently still be uttered in the workplace.

They meant it in a term of endearment to efficiency and process, and the safety of the established way of being. But unfortunately, it belied an insidious, almost boring laziness.

You’ll be familiar with it: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

If we can point to one attitude that prevents the challenging of the status quo or the development of better ideas, then it’s this. We should be cultivating environments – professionally, personally, politically – that are prepared to ask what improvements can be found and what we can learn on the way towards something better.

Thought leadership means adopting a growth mindset, and focusing attention on the things that might not be broken, but sure as hell could be better.

The foundation of this, I believe, has to be a spirit of learning. In our Better Book Project and Strategic Thought Leader courses, we often talk about approaching new ideas like scientists: go in with a question, test it out, record data, and draw a conclusion. (Importantly, generating a conclusion based on the data, not using the same data to justify a foregone conclusion – but that’s for another day.) Within that has to be the acceptance that you don’t have all the answers, and nor are you prepared to wash your hands of the responsibility of improving outcomes.

Let’s look at some principles to embrace:

Continuous growth

Every experience contains opportunities for growth. If you’ve read James Clears’ Atomic Habits, then this will be engraved in your grey matter. Thought leaders stay across new developments and trends, attend industry conferences, and engage their audiences to stay abreast of their market.


Because they continuously embrace challenges and expand their knowledge, thought leaders are better equipped to navigate changing circumstances. A thought leader in education might embrace technology to try new teaching methods in their classrooms, inviting their students to provide feedback on the process while tracking learning results. Look for places where you can apply your thinking to explore novel ideas and solutions for the betterment of the people you serve. 


Around a decade ago, tertiary institutes were pushing hard for more ‘interdisciplinary work’, AKA getting diverse schools to work together on projects. Now these graduates are in the workforce, and (ideally) open to collaborations, and that’s great news for businesses – if you’re prepared to take advantage of that open-mindedness. So cultivate those connections, even with people from different fields. You might be surprised at what you learn, develop, and innovate in the process.


Thought leadership – at least to us – is all about problem solving: using our ideas to generate action against the shortcomings of the world. (The alternative, let me remind you, is doing nothing.) First, we accept that there are problems. Then we start to look at the causes. Then we can start to generate solutions. Then, the hard part: implementing them. 

Influence + Impact

If you want to have a meaningful impact with your days, then thought leadership is also a moral imperative. You can destigmatise issues by talking about them. When you take on the mantle of ‘thought leader’, you start a much-needed conversation about what needs to be done.

Lifelong learning

The cornerstone of great thought leadership is lifelong learning. For that reason, it’s more of a spiral than a loop: you will often return to the same point you started, but with a new perspective, more knowledge, and a different appreciation for what you see. When you’re curious as to the hows and whys of the world, then you open up the door to something better.

Thought leaders have the potential to represent meaningful progress in a world mired in complacency. So by embracing a growth mindset, fostering adaptability, cultivating diverse networks, honing problem-solving skills, leveraging influence for positive impact, and committing to lifelong learning, thought leaders exemplify a relentless pursuit of improvement and innovation. If you want to drive personal growth that leads to better opportunities, and fulfil the moral imperative to create a better world for those that follow, then thought leadership is one way to go about it.

Ready to have the right impact? Get in touch with us at Intelligent Ink, and we’ll take you through the process of becoming a thought leader.