Thought leadership and whiskey – any difference?

Thought leadership and whiskey – any difference?

Blog post by Claire O'Rourke

How thinking can lead to sharing, exploring can lead to discovering, and whiskey can lead to an interesting article.

I’ve been reading (and thinking) about thought leadership and what it might mean to me, to others, to Redvespa, to business analysis.

I’ve looked at Business Analysis and Leadership and its chapter by Penny Pullan, I’ve been surfing the Thought Leadership Lab and reading Denise Brousseau’s book. I’ve been talking to people in New Zealand that I see in the role, and had my boss talking to folks during her travels overseas.


Because I have a passion for understanding idea generation, management, delivery, and yet, I’m no psychologist.  My other passion is helping other business analysts achieve through learning. As a way to help explain my own thoughts, I’m liking what I read from John Hagel about the Passion of the Explorer at Deloitte’s Centre for the Edge.

I think that people having that passion for the explorer describes the best business analysts. Being explorers we also have to share our discoveries (aka thought leadership) so that those discoveries help others achieve and we also lead people to explore that passion.

I believe that unless we do this exploration/idea/generation/innovation/design/disruptive thinking, we are not contributing enough to our own lives, our business, our profession, our clients, and our communities.

What does whiskey have to do with it?

Maybe nothing! But as I was thinking about all this thought leadership, business analysis and passion, I was also thinking I could do with a sip of a lovely whiskey (is that another of my passions? Maybe.).  Anyway, the thoughts merged into a comparison between thought leadership and whiskey. I found more similarities than differences. So I just had to share:

  • Thought leadership can be a single malt idea or a blend
  • It’s built with a balance of science and art and explorer for the new taste
  • Taste tests are highly recommended, by yourself and with a wider network
  • It gets better with age
  • Even better when it’s opened and used, savoured, shared with others in a welcoming atmosphere with a bit of laughter
  • The components can be described as perhaps fruity, peaty, agile, earthy, sweet water (fall)
  • Consumed in many ways and in combination with other ingredients/mixes,  by people from many professions and perspectives
  • It’s the result of a craft with an international following that can be practised anywhere in the world
  • Not all are fans, but it’s respected even by those that don’t consume
  • It can have side effects, good and bad, so responsible use/decisions/communication always apply
  • It’s not the purpose of life, but used well it adds value

And I’m still thinking. I need to move to doing.