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Barbara Brooks Kimmel: More warning signs about wannabee thought leaders

Dear FCPA Blog,

As our annual Top Thought Leaders in Trust honors is currently selecting finalists for 2017, watching the video in the post “Don’t be this kind of thought leader” was such a hoot!!

I’m still honing my craft of separating the real thought leaders from the phonies. Fortunately, after seven years (I’m a slow learner), it’s getting easier. Real thought leaders are more difficult to find than their wannabee counterparts.

Here are a few more warning signs:

1. “Thought leaders” who shout very loudly (and frequently) on social media.

2. “Thought leaders” who are named to lists based on the number of Twitter followers they have (purchased).

3. “Thought leaders” who make unsubstantiated claims about their education and experience.

4. “Thought leaders” who use initials instead of names for written website references.

5. And my favorite — “thought leaders” who simply don’t have an original thought. All their material is “borrowed” and reworked!

Thanks for sharing. Here’s to a more ethical and trustworthy 2017!


Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its seventh year, the program’s proprietary FACTS® Framework ranks and measures the trustworthiness of over 1,500 U.S. public companies on five quantitative indicators of trust. Barbara also runs the world largest global Trust Alliance, is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and a Managing Member at FACTS® Asset Management, a New Jersey registered investment advisor.

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