- Scott Hatley
Leading the Way in Thought Leadership
When you think about being a “thought leader” it’s hard not to think about the founding father of Western philosophy, the Greek philosopher Socrates. He has been described as “among the first moral philosophers of the ethical tradition of thought.” When you ponder Socrates' contribution to thought, you also have to include his student and disciple, Plato, and even his pupil, Aristotle, and the influence they have had. Whether intentionally or not, these three philosophers have inspired thought for generations upon generations of people.
In our more modern times, radio talk show hosts, newspaper columnists, podcasters, social media influencers and so many others have built entire empires around thought leadership. They use their brands to shape perspectives and conversations. Think Oprah, Dave Ramsay, Tony Robbins to name a few. They have made themselves into go-to experts and sought-after speakers and contributors. Whether we agree with their perspectives or not, each influences and consistently tackles the bigger questions on the minds of their listeners and followers. Their influence most always focuses on their area of expertise.
INCIGHT has similar aspirations to these great thought leaders referenced above. We want to elevate the conversation around disability so that barriers are broken and stigma is busted. It starts with building greater awareness by changing the hearts and minds of their peers while helping those in the workplace, with and without disabilities, visible and invisible, learn how to leverage obstacles.
One of INCIGHT’s core values is to be a “thought leader,” so this has significant meaning to our organization. For us, this means to inspire, share expertise, provide wisdom, create influence and incite change. If given the opportunity, we’d like to become an organization seen as an expert in the field for building culture, shaping best practices and engaging in this complicated conversation.
There is a lot of noise around this topic; we want to cut through it to shape perspectives, and in a positive direction. There also isn’t enough expectation for those experiencing disabilities, and the statistics for employment of this population still lags significantly behind the general population.
Our perspective is unique as we don’t place all the blame on society for the lack of progression of people with disabilities or lack of expectations. We see it, rather, as a two-way equation. At the forefront are unfair societal judgments toward those with disabilities which can permeate stigma at times. And, on the other side, buried a bit deeper, are limiting beliefs from individuals with disabilities themselves. Each is an equal contributor to the current reality.
Bringing about a societal culture where people feel safe and comfortable disclosing their disability status is a key measure for making progress on the topic. That is, no matter what box you check, you have increased opportunities for inclusion and advancement, and to be elevated in your career and standing. How do you appeal to everyone and still elevate the conversation around disability? This is a much larger conversation.
There is a lot which can be unpackaged in this conversation. Starting the conversation is the first step. We always need to learn and evolve in thoughts and perspectives that shape conversation. Being able to pair these conversations with business success stories is also a quick way to bring about larger change. We believe INCIGHT can play an important part in leading the way for change. We can do it through this magazine, The Understanding, with INCIGHT’s content, in social media posts, on podcasts, distributed books, and so much more. INCIGHT’s ethos and programs position us to be thought leaders on these topics and in this conversation. We are a bit of a network node who believes seeing individuals secure employment is the ultimate outcome for more swiftly moving the needle. This unleashes the purchasing power and capability of this demographic like few other strategies can. If the great Greek philosophers could lead the way once upon a time, then why can’t we, with all our modern society has to offer, do the same?