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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  April 28, 2016

Three Steps to Show Off Your Brilliance

Thought leaders who can acknowledge two diverse realities without taking sides will be trusted and have more influence.

I love it when brilliant people make the complex simple. Exhibit A: Warren Buffett’s annual letter (PDF) to the company’s shareholders. If you don’t want to read all 30 pages, here’s a cool Strategy+Business article that highlights a key point on pages 23-24 of the letter.

My favorite part: the above pages on disruption. Yep, that word is bandied about a lot, and many of us talk about how to use chaos to our advantage. But Buffet adds another dimension when he compared the experience to individuals, especially long-time workers.

Step back from the politics for a second, and look at this from a thought leader perspective. Buffet took three steps to set up his insights:

Step 1: He kicked off his commentary with good news. Earlier parts outline that no, America is not heading south in a handbasket.

Step 2: He acknowledges the pain with comparison. Profit is high, while wages are flat; labor has fewer options than companies; etc. He doesn’t judge either side; he just shares the logic.


Related: One Thing Cool Thought Leaders Discuss that No One Else Does


Step 3: He gave a framework for moving forward. He outlined changes in structure, not tactics. He left room for others to innovate. Then he left it for the politicians to handle the details.

The bottom line: thought leaders who can acknowledge two diverse realities without taking sides will be trusted and, therefore, have more influence. Let’s all think about this as we comment on political issues on social media.


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.