Better Thinking for Better Business with Verity Craft - Episode 5 of Better Business, Better Life!
Updated: Mar 8
1. Start testing ideas!
- Pick a platform, LinkedIn is always recommended, and put your ideas out there!
2. Jot down all the things you talk about with clients
- All the things that make you go "Wow, I hadn't thought of that", jot them down and be aware of trends that people are finding real value from.
3. Don't do everything yourself!
- Get your team involved with the whole process!
Tool: How to Build & Keep an Audience through thought leadership
Full transcript here:
Debra Chantry-Taylor 0:11
Welcome to another episode of better business better life. Today I am here with the delightful Verity Craft. And she's one of our guest experts speakers. So she's here to speak to you about how you can use thought leadership in your business we are really keen to hear about that. Before we get started, first of all, welcome, Verity.
Verity Craft 0:27
Thank you. We're excited to be here. Yeah, so
Debra Chantry-Taylor 0:30
Verity and I have known eachother for a number of years and shes done a lot of work, she's worked on my business, she works a lot with the EO members and all kinds of things around thought leadership. So yeah, but before we get started, we like to let the listeners know a little about you personally and professionally. So can you give us one of your personal best and your professional best
Verity Craft 0:48
Oh, one of my personal bests. So I do a lot of performing outside of work, I do a lot of musical theatre, which anyone who's connected with me on LinkedIn also probably knows, because I talk about it a lot. So I think just in general, being on stage, and I'll be on Wicked later this year. And that's probably that's kind of what I see is my, my personal best outside. It's not necessarily one moment, but just being on stage anytime.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 1:13
And it's really funny, because my husband, who I met a couple of years ago was actually in a couple of stage and plays with you.
Verity Craft 1:18
Yeah, I knew him before I knew you. So
Debra Chantry-Taylor 1:22
I can professional best
Verity Craft 1:24
Professional, which I think is just just how we've managed to grow intelligent, but really change it. So where it started 10 years ago, which is when it started out and my business partner started, but not me. But I've been around for eight years, and very different to where it is today. And I actually see that as as a real success, because it means that we've evolved with it. And we've evolved it to suit us in our lives and where we want to have impact. And so that's been really exciting. And the fact that you know, still here 10 years later is is pretty amazing.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 1:55
Tell us a little about Intelligent Inc, what is it that you do?
Verity Craft 1:58
So we talk about transforming ideas into thought leadership. So it's all about taking business leaders who have a huge amount of experience and expertise, and then helping them figure out how to leverage that and communicate that in a way that's really going to help them be seen as the authority in the field. And what that does is it helps them essentially become the most obvious choice for people, it helps them bring business into the business, and it helps them have a wider impact so that they're helping more people as opposed to just who they can on a one on one basis within the business. Awesome.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 2:29
That's fantastic. So what kind of businesses do you work with?
Verity Craft 2:31
So mostly in the database space, we find thought leadership works really, really well, for businesses who are talking to other businesses, because other businesses want, business owners want to learn more and, and the or if they're in if they told them to beg corporates, then you know, corporates have huge amount of people who they need help with. So the b2b space works really, really well. But for us, it's much more about who the people are. And you know, whether they actually want to make something better. So what's the impact they want to have? And that's we thought leadership says, yes, there's ROI for it. And there's a financial aspect, but it's also got to be tempered with, you're not just in it to make more money, you are also trying to have a bigger impact. And because people can tell that tell the difference.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 3:13
The title that we chose today was having a better business, you know, how you can use thought leadership to actually do that. So share a couple of, I suppose, case studies or people that you've worked with and what you've done with them.
Verity Craft 3:24
Yeah, so um, one really good example is a company called Q4 Associates who are awesome, and consultancy, who do basically help people create strategies and implement robotic process automation, which doesn't sound that exciting. And when when they came to us, and we're like, we think we want to write a book about robotic process automation, we certainly aren't sure that we do. But okay. But when we talk to them, you know, what we discovered really quickly was that it's about so much more than that. It's about change management. It's about really creating digital colleagues so that your human workforce and your digital workforce are working in tandem. So it's not about replacing your human workforce. It's about augmenting them and making them better. And so and that was really exciting. So what we've done with them is worked with them, both developing a book, which So Mr. Dubey, and John, and now I'm going to get in trouble because I've forgotten the last time. JOHN, we love you, sorry. I have just written a book that just came out just prior to Christmas, which is all about how to how to do that how to implement a digital workforce. But at the same time, we've also been helping them evolve the thinking and their ideas and then putting out content regularly around there. So what I think has been really interesting for them is that we have a started years ago, whenever it was that we started on the book project was is quite different to where they ended up in it thinkings evolved and they've been able to develop frameworks that then they've been able to take out to clients and use so for them. It's both enabled them to be seen as the authority and really continue to build that reputation they've got out in the field, but also at the same time evolve your thinking so that the business has actually better there as well.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 5:12
And so what's the most favourite project you've worked on? so far?
Verity Craft 5:16
Oh, my favourite. I'm not sure. I'm very bad at picking favourites in general. Anytime someone else or like a favourite book or something, I have to give them the 20 favourite project. Um, I think some of the clients that it's not like a project, but the clients that we work with on an ongoing basis are definitely my favourite. And the reason for that is that, you know, when you do a project yes, you can have an impact, but it's nothing compared to when you're continuously contributing to the world. And so, you know, what some of our clients who have been working with five, six, even eight years, you know, what they've been able to achieve is really amazing. And being part of that is really amazing. And, you know, you become part of their team. And so I think that's the, and wouldn't be just one kind of work. But those relationships that you build over time, and where you get to know their team as well. And you really get to know their thinking and you're able to push them in new directions. That's really exciting for us. And so those, those are probably my favourites told you, I'm terrible.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 6:23
As a coach, it's like when you actually become part of that family, and you're sharing the successes, and you get to see as you know, things grow. It just makes your heart sing, right. Yeah, totally. Yeah. Okay. So tell us the one or one of thought leadership, what does it really mean? And can it apply? Because I get the whole b2b thing. But can it also apply? Because consultants, coaches, that sort of stuff? You know, yeah, that makes sense. What can it also apply to products?
Verity Craft 6:45
Yeah, so it can, um, so thought leadership, when it comes down to it is exactly what it sounds like. It's leading with your thinking, yes, essentially. So it's being having some thinking or some ideas or some basic, whatever the thinking is, that could be research and development for products, for example, it could be the thinking that you're doing around developing frameworks, if you're a consultant, or coach, it could be just the the thinking that you're doing around your industry, whatever that is, you know, if you're doing things a bit differently, one of our clients has a fit out company. And so we're at the moment working with him on looking at how we make, you know, how they make the fit out industry more sustainable. And, you know, while they're not going out there saying, Hey, we're not, you know, we're not perfect, yet they are, they're out there saying, okay, well, we all need to do better. So what are some of the ways that we can do that and trying to lead that conversation? So you can absolutely do it? in whatever field you're in? It's about being willing to kind of stand up, take that leadership position and go, okay, how can we do this better? And being really open with other people about that, so that it's not just about improving your own business, but actually going, alright, how can we have that wider impact and be really positive? So for businesses that say, you know, a product, business, for example, they might sell a specific product, but if they're doing all of the stuff in the background to try and figure out well, how can we be to solve our customers? problems? How can we make this product even better for their lives, that sort of stuff is still leading the way it's still thinking. And so if you're being willing to share that, that's where you can still really tap into thought leadership.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 8:24
I was just thinking, actually, we had Richard MacDonald on here the other day, and he actually does water. His whole hes change the way that water is actually delivered to places in New Zealand. Right, you know, you reusing bottles. Yeah, I'm just in time delivery. So I'm, I suppose, in some ways, that is changing the way the industry will forward.
Verity Craft 8:40
Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's the, you know, we'll often talk about the fact that you have to remember the two parts of thought leadership. So it's, it's the thought and the leadership. So the thought is that, what thinking are you doing? What are the ideas that you're coming up with? What innovations are you coming up with, to make things better, and then the leadership is really being willing to step out there and, and, you know, actually go or, or we're willing to push this conversation forward. And the two of them and combo is what makes it so effective. Because if you've just got the thinking, you might improve your own business, but you might not have that wider effect that you'd really like to have. And if you're just out there talking the whole time, you might look really great, but like, are you really having that much of an impact? So having that combo of the two is really important.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 9:21
So what are the common mistakes that people make? Because I've kind of heard a little bit about, well, this is where you go wrong with this. Common mistakes, you see,
Verity Craft 9:28
I'm part of it is not digging deep enough. So a lot of people will just, they see thought leadership as the same as content marketing. And content marketing is an amazing tool. And most thought leaders should be using it as one of the tools. But it's a it's a tool, it's a way of doing something. So if you're just putting stuff out, for the sake of it, for the sake of putting out content, it's going to be really hard to then be seen as the authority and you're going to constantly having to be put out, put out more and put more promotion behind it. Because actually, you're just saying the same thing as everybody else. So it is always about taking it a step further, you know, how can you say something different? How can you get people thinking in a different way or behaving in a different way. Um, so that would be one. The other one that I would say is, um, just in terms of, like, building an audience and thing is, is forgetting the human at the other end of it. And it's the constant promo, you know? So it's, it's remembering, like, why does someone want to give you their attention? You know, there's a lot of noise out there. So really thinking about what's the value for the person that I'm out there talking to whether that's via LinkedIn, whether that's in a conversation with a vet speaking on a stage, you know, as opposed to it just being, here's how awesome I am? Like, what's the value actually going to be for the person that that you're talking to? Yeah. And then the third one that I'd say, is forgetting to bring it back into your business. So this is where I think there's kind of the two extremes as you get people that we've already talked about her like, push, push, push, promo, promo promo, that really struggled to become seen as thought leaders, because they're not getting the value. And then there's the people who give, give, give so much, and forget that they still need to make some money, and have a business. So making sure that they still have a way of getting into your sort of business ecosystem is really important. And it's something that we've done poorly in the past, honestly. So it's making sure that you know, it's making it really easy for them to get onto your database, because you're giving them something of value and exchange or it's making it really easy. Like, for example, we work with a lot of authors and help them write their books, and remembering to put something in the book that says, hey, head to our website and download these so that then you can then keep communicating with them. It's not necessarily about making the hard sell straightaway, but it is about making sure okay, well, how do I keep them to be part of my community and make them a community as opposed to just someone who reads one post that you do? Or watches one video or something?
Debra Chantry-Taylor 12:05
Okay, cool. Yeah, I was just thinking, I don't know, there's, there's influencers out there. But it's very, very different to influencing isn't it. Yeah. Because I mean, I think that, especially perhaps for business owners, who are who've not kind of looked at this as a possibility, they might look at influencers and go, Oh, my God, I don't want to be like, that person is out there. Look at me, look at me, look at me. So how would they take the first steps to to think about whether or not thought leadership is right for them?
Verity Craft 12:31
Yeah, I'm fair, I wouldn't really want to be an influencer either. Honestly, um, I, the first thing is to remember that thought leadership is about your ideas, not about you. So you use your personal profile without a doubt, like I, I use my LinkedIn and my network and all of that to share our thoughts and ideas about thought leadership. But it's about the ideas and what we want to get out there. And that's the difference is you're not building yourself up for the sake of building yourself up. And I think that that actually does help a lot of particularly Kiwis who have the whole tall poppy syndrome, like, don't want to put themselves out there. It does help with my remember, actually, it's about the impact that you can have with your ideas, as opposed to just making yourself look and feel really good. And yeah, I guess that's where it comes back to also make sure you've got the thinking as well as the leadership because you could just be out there talking. And you might be an influencer. And you might build an audience. But you know, if you're not backing it up with the experience, and with the, the, what you're living in real life being meh whatever.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 13:35
And so there's obviously there's a lot of thinking that needs to go in behind it little structure that goes in behind it, what are the first steps they would take? If they were to say, okay, I think this sounds like something I really am passionate about, I really do want to make a difference. I want to sort of, you know, lead my industry forward. Yeah. What would be the sort of the steps they would take to start on that journey?
Verity Craft 13:54
Yeah. So first thing is to figure out like, what you're going to be a thought leader and what you want to maybe if you don't want to be a thought leader, or be known as that, because it's a bit of a term, you don't necessarily want to class yourself as a thought leader. But if you want to build thought leadership or share thought leadership with people, what are you going to do then? So what's the thing that you can be really specifically the authority in, and that's not necessarily going to be the exact same as all of the services that your business provides? Because a business can you know, do 10 different things, but actually, it's, what's the red thread that ties them together? You know, what's that thing that you do really specifically? Well, so like, we've got a client who works with marketing teams and corporates, and she's identified that yes, you know, she can help with the strategy and she can help with the coaching the team and she can help with problem solving sprints, but what pulls it together and what makes her specific, where she specifically sits and can be an expert in is how do you unlock the potential and your existing marketing team. So how do you open up what already exists in that and so that's what she's focusing all of her thought leadership around like, both in terms of what she shares, but also the thinking that she's doing is like what other tools and frameworks and models could be really useful for that? So that's the first step is figuring out like, what can you be the thought leader in and I've got a resource that I'm happy to share with anyone who's keen, if you come into it below, then I can below, I assume it's below. So and I'll put a link on right. So happy to share that that's like you had some questions to just start you thinking in that way. And then it's about starting to share. And, you know, we always recommend putting a strategy in place, but actually, sometimes you better to get started and then start to build out a strategy. Because otherwise, you can stay locked for so long and trying to get it perfect, that you never end up doing anything. So I always recommend starting to put things out on one or two platforms like LinkedIn is one that I really love using, because I like being able to connect with people and have a network. And when I've got a new idea, I'll just make it a post. It doesn't have to be perfect, because it's not anything that I've put more than you know, a few minutes into, but start trying out your ideas and seeing what people connect with. And then that way, you'll get a feel for what you actually should be talking about and where you can really add value to people's lives.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 16:21
And it's kind of like building an MVP. Yeah, I'm gonna go out there and say, hey, look, it's not perfect, because I will do get caught up in that hole. Yeah, my gosh, I've got to get this absolutely right. Yes, I put it out there. It's not right. People want me to shred harder, like, so it's more like building a minimum viable product. You go, hey, look, I've put it out there, give a bit of a go see what resonates what doesn't and then build it from there. But don't just keep going ad hoc?
Verity Craft 16:40
Yes. Yeah, exactly. It's like an MBI a minimum viable idea, like and get something out there, see what can it and then you can build a strategy around that. And when it comes to the strategy, it's about making sure that you know, who your audience are. And and I always recommend going really narrow. So it's often called narrow casting is, is be really clear on who you exist for, and talk to those people. Then it's going around, where are those people? What are the platforms that I need to be on? What kind of ways can I share content, and that doesn't just mean social media, it can also be webinars, it can be a podcast like this, it can be a book. Exactly. There's heaps of ways. And then the other thing is, and how are you going to bring them back into the business? So thinking about their ecosystem? So it's that who you're talking to? What your message is, what that positioning is, where you're going to be, and then how you're bringing them back into the business? And if you've got those four things sorted, then you'll have a pretty solid strategy.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 17:40
Yeah. Perfect. Okay. So we always like to make sure that the listeners can walk away with three simple things that they can do when they leave this this lot more room because when they leave the podcast, yeah, so what would you say the three things if somebody is thinking about this, I'll be the three things that can actually go off and do right now. That could make a difference in their business?
Verity Craft 17:57
Yep. So I'd say first of all, start testing your ideas. So pick a platform, LinkedIn works really well, I always recommend that. But you know, if your audience aren't the thing, don't you pick a different platform, but just start trying things out, just put things out and see what people connect with. And the second one, I would say, is start jotting down all of those things that you talk about with clients or with customers, and conversation, you know, all those little gems that are the things they like, Oh, I hadn't thought about that. Or, oh, wow, that's really interesting. or start collating all of those, because you'll start to see some real trends around what the things are that actually people get real value out of
Debra Chantry-Taylor 18:35
really interesting. I actually had a client who has started recording some of their sessions with their clients. And it you know, you got to ask permission first.
Verity Craft 18:42
Debra Chantry-Taylor 18:42
But if you do that, you'll start listening back, you can actually get those aha moments. Yeah. Oh, yeah, that's right. I said something that was really valuable there. So
Verity Craft 18:49
yeah, for sure, yeah. And then the third thing would be to not trying to do it all yourself. And it's not necessarily just applied for us, but like, incorporate your team, you know, get people involved, it doesn't have to just be the same the sole business owner or the CEO. It can be something that everyone gets involved in. And so and you'll start to be able to pull on the expertise of everyone from the team. And so that's really powerful. So I think, just remember that it's not just you being out there that, to me, I'm like a thought leader. You know, it's it's about the ideas and one of the best ways to get those out there. And often that can be through bringing the whole team together and all being part of that journey. Yeah, I work with an IT team that actually wanted to be positioned as the leaders in a particular type of IT technology. Yeah. And they actually engage with their development team as it
Debra Chantry-Taylor 19:42
is. And every week they would share content from a different member of the team, right, which was was wonderful because yes, definitely the CEO was the driver behind it. Yeah, the whole team was in behind and wanted to be pushy as boundaries, which is great. Yeah, awesome. Okay. So if somebody wants to get in contact with you, to chat to you. So first, we're going to give them that that download, so get you started. But well, do you want to get in contact with you? How would they do that?
Verity Craft 20:02
Yeah, so um, a couple of ways. Our website is intelligent inc.com Nz, Inc with a K. And otherwise, connect with me on LinkedIn, Verity Craft, and I always like meeting new people maybe just put in the message that this is where you heard me from, because it's always a bit weird when you get one without a message. Um, and otherwise, yeah, check out our website and say there's a bunch of free downloads on there and blogs and things that you can engage with already and get some ideas as well.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 20:32
Perfect. Thank you very much. And I have to say, I've been following Verity for a long, long time. And she has some quite unique things on there. I've seen her sing on LinkedIn and other stuff, so I highly recommend following her on LinkedIn. And yeah, thank you very much for sharing those tips and pointers. Really appreciate it. Look forward to seeing you again soon.
Verity Craft 20:47
Thanks so much for having me.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 20:49
Thank you very much.