I have been wanting to write about this subject for the past year and every day I decide it’s not worth the battle. I then saw the phases “Strategists,” Experts” “Thought Leaders” one too many times today and I decided today was the day.
According to the dictionary definition: A strategist is a “person skilled in designing and planning action and policy to achieve a major or overall aim.”
It is my fair assessment that this definition would beg for a redefined title or brand from some 90 percent of its enablers.
My friends, if every person on twitter, facebook or Linkedin who called themselves an “expert” was indeed that moniker, than we must have an industry with “all chiefs and no indians” as the saying goes.
* Exchange “expert” for strategist or “thought leader” in all the above listed examples.
Moreover, to embrace the goodness of the art, you may otherwise be in actuality:
All that being stated, none of the above equates with someone who indeed, suggest being “skilled in designing and planning action and policy to achieve a major or overall aim.”
A strategist offers an overall solution, a series of initiatives that are in and by themselves ground breaking, if not innovative in the manner used even if aspects are familiar. A strategist is consultative or entrepreneurial in nature who presents findings bench marking current practices and provides recommendations that provide nuance if not complete departures from the current practices and once approved by their clients, employs them with vigor. You can be conceptual and not have implemented, and still be a strategist – budgetary restraints can be your absolution. That said, the animal that is by definition an “expert” or a “strategist” or a “thought Leader” – offers what has not been done, or done but not effectively and in broader application to fulfill an objective; a vision from which a client can benefit in a meaningful way that departs from the status quo.
I have actually heard someone say “twitter” and “tweet” on stage overseas with no bearing on the practitioner, more so as a slogan to oohs and ahhs. I cringed in my seat. It’s like I was in the 1940’s and I took a time machine trip and returned with an iphone to eternal gasps and awe. It doesn’t mean I invented it and it surely doesn’t make me an iphone engineer.
Perhaps it helps your branding to be flippant about such terms, however, in doing so the words lose meaning. Words mean things. We do our industry and these very particular individuals who provide deliverables which define the art a disservice when we set expectations and fail to deliver the glory of the terms suggested. Do us all a favor, think pointedly if you meet the standard and edit your Linkedin profile if the shoes don’t fit. You can still be a subject matter sourcer or full cycle recruiter – but neither makes a social media strategist/expert/thought leader/guru.
When you submit a proposal and you have to argue on behalf of your recommendations and weigh them against best practices with senior staffing management – we can start the conversation, the content however is objective:
“What are you adding to the conversation from a strategic and tactical perspective?”
I will call them passionate. I will call them advocates and all the terms of nuance other than that argued – and do so energetically, but let’s consider that definitions are meaningful things and that we all have limitations in a social media world that redefines its potential regularly, if not daily.
Stop making what we do … trendy.
Pass me the mojito. I need a drink
A strategist is consultative or entrepreneurial in nature who presents findings bench marking current practices and provides recommendations that provide nuance if not complete departures from the current practices and once approved by their clients, employs them with vigor.