Recently, I spent a day in Southern California with Reborn Cabinets. Reborn is one of the most successful remodelers in the country, and a Pro Remodeler Thought Leader. It’s an amazing company—fast, smart, hungry, fun, and forward-thinking.
I enjoyed my day there, and I know that our audience would have enjoyed it, too. With that in mind, Pro Remodeler is unveiling a new column this year written by a different remodeling Thought Leader every month. Content will focus on changes in the industry and ways that remodelers can better position themselves for the future.
Planning the new column made me start thinking, “What exactly is a Thought Leader anyway?” When trying to define a term as nebulous as “thought leadership,” it’s tempting to use that famous 1964 quote from a Supreme Court judge regarding pornography: “I know it when I see it.” But I believe that’s too subjective. After considering it for awhile, I came up with five descriptors that define a Thought Leader in the remodeling industry.
1] A Thought Leader is a person, not a company. Amazon is a disruptor; Jeff Bezos is a Thought Leader. Although he’s often close mouthed about new initiatives, Bezos freely shares his business philosophies and insights on the keys to Amazon’s success.
2] A Thought Leader sees the future. There’s plenty of highly profitable remodelers who still rely on the business models most of us grew up with. But those long sales visits around a homeowner’s kitchen table will continue to erode in favor of a seamless, digital experience. A Thought Leader sees this—and all of the other implications that go with it—and is aggressively positioned for tomorrow’s clients.
They are nimble, decisive, have a strong vision, and can clearly articulate it.
3] A Thought Leader innovates. He or she creates forward-thinking, sometimes revolutionary advancements that stand on the shoulders of what came before. Goals are more ambitious and the steps to get there more audacious.
4] A Thought Leader shares knowledge. Thought Leaders provide clarity to the remodeling industry while it undergoes massive change. They teach. They inspire. They are not threatened by the idea of sharing valuable insights with others, because they recognize that their knowledge advances the whole industry.
5] A Thought Leader is successful. That said, success in this instance isn’t necessarily the same as profit. Bezos took Amazon public in 1997, but the company didn’t turn its first profit (and a small one at that) until Q4 of 2001. Amazon was busy redefining a market, and that took time. We could say the same thing about Uber today, a wildly successful company that’s not making money ... yet.
Thought Leaders set a high bar and their example makes everyone around them want to be better. They are nimble, decisive, have a strong vision, and can clearly articulate it.
Check out the first Thought Leaders column in this issue.