The Work

The Work

Matt Church

Matt Church

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Published by Matt Church – Founder on 24 January 2024

A thought leader’s practice takes work, make sure it’s the right work.


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Running a commercially successful practice as a thought leader requires ‘good’ work, but it is work! In a world of get-rich-quick promises and six-figure promise programs, it’s easy to think this is all easy, but it’s not. It’s work, but it’s ‘good’ work.

Three areas of good work:

In pursuit of a labour of love
Firstly, the goal of a thought leader’s practice is to do work you love, with people you like, the way you want. This orientation towards being at choice and running your work so it’s by design means that the labour of a service-based practice is a labour of love. Finding and experimenting with ways to be of service to others from ‘a preference’ as opposed to ‘an opportunity’ means the first bit of good work is to discover the work that exists at the intersection of what you know, what others value, and way of providing that that fill you with joy.

A commercial PhD
The second area of ‘Good Work’ is to work on your body of knowledge. A thought leader delivers insights and perspectives that extend thinking in a field. We often say that learning how to run a commercially successful Thought Leaders Practice is analogous to completing a commercial PhD. In this way, your job is to build on knowledge that already exists in the world and add distinctions that make a difference to the human condition at work and life. The ‘Good Work’ is dedicating time and energy to capturing, packaging, and refining what you know. The trick here is to start on insights that deliver relevance to others before you focus on those that are unique. Be relevant, thorough, elegant, and then unique.

Delivery is your strategy
This is a piece of ‘Good Work’ we make explicit but seems to catch people up down the line. A thought leader’s practice is an exertion-based business model. You, the principal, are getting paid for delivering experiences. We recommend that you focus on these being in real time (synchronous), in person, and online. Don’t get distracted by leveraged online courses (LMS systems), podcasts (Syndicated or otherwise) and the various social media algorithm aligning strategies. These are all useful but not central to a commercially successful thought leader’s practice. Do good deep work in person and focus on transactions of $5,000 – $15,000 and $50,000 – $150,000. Price too low and you are running a productised, discounting, race to the bottom model. Price too high and you are running a quality control consulting model sending in associates and managing the ‘Not You’ client disappointment. Or worse!!! You become an embed employee working a day or two a week with one or two clients (smells a lot like a job).

My point? A practice takes work, make sure it’s the good work.

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