by Allison Sekuler
Thought leaders are big-picture thinkers able to look beyond current projects and deadlines and sketch out a blueprint for the future. Thought leaders can shift both corporate perspectives and institutional capabilities to bring about game-changing outcomes for their organizations.
Do leaders are detail-oriented planners. They have the ability to meticulously and relentlessly push a project to completion. Do leaders can instinctively identify risks and devise mitigation plans. They set firm goals and can be intensely focused on getting to the next objective.
The thought leaders / do leaders dichotomy is, of course, not the whole picture. Few people fall exclusively into one camp or the other, and sometimes the split is as much situational as it is personality-driven. Sometimes a project leader will don the thought leader cap and throw out big ideas to a team capable of translating and implementing them. Other times that same project leader might have to take abstract ideas from creatives in the graphics department and flip them into something concrete and actionable.
But several real-world examples suggest that some people really do work best in one role or the other. And when an inventive thought leader is paired with an efficient do leader, the result is far greater than the sum of its parts. Recent history provides some great examples of this: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Bill Belichick and Charlie Weis, Pinky and the Brain.
But no two business relationships better epitomize the thought leader / do leader synergy than Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, and Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
Sometimes I am a thought leader. Other times, a do leader. I think that’s possible. :D