Mindy Gibbins-Klein explores the reasons why business leaders could benefit from writing and how to determine when to be visible and vocal
Let’s face it, we love to know about other people’s lives, particularly those who are in the public eye. But is it all about sensationalism or are there very real, tangible business benefits to business leaders and CEOs sharing their stories with the world through a book?
A business leader said something astounding the other day. He said he would rather speak to an audience of ten people than write for an audience of a thousand. I thought that sounded a bit strange, so I challenged him on it. It turned out that he had written an article for a magazine with a good circulation, but he hadn’t had any feedback at all from it. He felt he had spent his time crafting a wonderful, informative piece that no-one appreciated. He also felt that if that message had been delivered in person, he could have seen the response from people immediately,
in their eyes and their body language.
It’s true what my colleague said, so how can we justify putting time into writing when we don’t get feedback? Well, that is the nature of writing. Sometimes you get to find out what your readers think of your material, and many times you don’t.
The same applies with a book.
If you think about the time invested in creating tens of thousands of words without any idea how people will respond, it’s no wonder many people never get round to writing a book!
A question of time….
With such hectic schedules and economic pressures to keep business ticking over, can CEOs and leaders really afford to take the time to write and publish books, I hear your say?
My response is simple. They can’t afford not to! It’s precisely when times get tough that customers start scrutinising their purchases and looking for the best value for their money.
In a market that is already competitive, shrinking demand means fewer pounds flowing around, and those pounds will go to the exceptional companies, those that stand out. And these days, people look to the leader of the company to see what he or she has to say, and whether or not they give the market confidence.
One of the best ways to encapsulate your knowledge and wisdom is in a book. If I asked you to pick out some key business leaders that immediately spring to mind, I bet most of them have a book. This is because to really appreciate someone as a thought leader, you need to get into the heart of who they are, what they stand for and what makes them tick.
Ultimately, we buy from people we like.
We also like to read about them too!
All serious business leaders have put books out and are undisputed experts or thought leaders in their fields.
In fact, if they are not vocal and opinionated, regularly interviewed or quoted in the press, they are at risk of being forgotten in this unforgiving and competitive market.
But you don’t have to be a famous face to gain the benefit from writing a book. As the CEO or leader of any organisation, you have a unique story to tell that can only be told by you. Just because the world doesn’t know about it yet, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be told.
The ghostwriting dilemma
So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and write your book, now where do you start? One of the most common questions I’m asked by business leaders is ‘can’t I just get someone to write it for me?’
It’s a common misconception that using a ghostwriter will save a significant amount of time. To achieve a really accurate portrayal of the topic, the executive would need to spend time briefing the writer, then looking at various drafts and making comments and amendments, and reviewing it again.
Additionally, customers want to hear the executive’s own beliefs, in his/her own words. With the right plan, structure, techniques and guidance, anyone can write a great book in as little as 40 hours. If an executive is not willing to invest 40 hours in strategic thinking, planning and writing, I would have my doubts about his/her leadership and vision.
In conclusion, I believe that writing books is an extremely underrated exercise these days, and many successful business leaders simply don’t realise the value that it can bring, not only to their organisation and successors, but in raising their profile and credibility with their target audience too.
Mindy Gibbins-Klein MBA FPSA FRSA is a multi-award-winning international speaker, author and thought leadership strategist. Her flagship book 24 Carat BOLD outlines the four attributes found in true thought leaders. Her latest book The Thoughtful Leader takes thought leadership to a new level.
Founder and CEO of REAL Thought Leaders, The Book Midwife and Panoma Press, she has authored and co-authored eight books.
She is also a regular contributor to the business press on thought leadership and raising your profile.
Her clients have successfully written and published more than 500 books and hundreds of bold and opinionated articles, positioning themselves as real thought leaders in their field.
For more information on Mindy Gibbins-Klein, visit mindygk.com