Be yourself, be open-minded, and be approachable. Being an authentic thought leader is important because it will allow you to show people who you really are. You can do this by blogging about your own personal experiences in your profession or talking about things that you feel passionate about. You should also give yourself the freedom to be able to share opinions and ideas that other people may disagree with — as long as you’re open-minded and approachable, it’s important to show your viewers that we’re all just humans trying to learn from each other.
As part of our series about how to become known as a thought leader in your industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Peter Zieve.
Dr. Peter Zieve is the CEO and founder of Electroimpact, an engineers’ company based in Mukilteo, Washington. He envisioned his company as a “haven for engineers”, giving them more freedom to make decisions starting from design up until the turnover of projects to clients.
At present, the company’s customer base includes established and large companies around the globe like Boeing, Bombardier, Fuji Heavy Industries, Israeli Aircraft Industries, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
My education began at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where I took my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering. After that, I continued at the University of Washington where I received my Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering.
Shortly after I graduated, I decided to start my own company in order to commercialize the innovative technology I created during my doctoral research. Aside from that, I also wanted to start an initiative where engineers can have better control over their projects. By doing this, I believe that they will be more productive and more likely to come up with brilliant innovations.
From there, Electroimpact was born in 1986. We started supplying tooling solutions to Boeing until we grew into one of the world’s top manufacturers of automation assembly systems.
Can you briefly share with our readers why you are an authority about the topic of thought leadership?
I’ve been a thought leader in our field for about 20 years now. In this time, I managed to gather a lot of experience and knowledge from the industries where Electroimpact is working with.
Being part of the industry for 35 years, I believe that it is my responsibility to help grow the engineering community in the United States and share what Electroimpact does in order to make engineers more productive.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
There’s no single, most interesting thing that happened to me. All the stories I experienced so far led me to where I am now and helped me create an environment in Electroimpact where engineers can come up with brilliant innovations.
Because of this, we’ve been given the opportunity to work with some of the largest companies in the world, including Boeing.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Every person makes mistakes. I was no exception. For me, the funny part is that whenever a situation like this occurs, I always try to learn from it and improve myself or our processes to make sure that this type of mishap never happens again.
In fact, when we started Electroimpact in 1986, we weren’t just establishing a company, but also developing the engineering community in the United States. In this regard, we had no real competition from other engineering automation companies that existed at the time.
In order to set us apart from our competitors and establish Electroimpact as a great place for engineers to work, I had to show our employees that I trust them more than anything else. This is why I gave them full control over their projects.
On one occasion, I asked an engineer to create a simple assembly fixture in the company’s CNC machine. However, he used a command that I didn’t even know about until it was too late.
When I realized what happened, his job assignment had already been completed and we could no longer make changes to the design of the assembly fixture.
From this experience, I learned that if there’s something that we should do, it’s to constantly be curious about new technologies and processes. This way, we can improve ourselves and avoid making the same mistakes over and over.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define what a ‘Thought Leader’ is? How is a thought leader different from a typical leader? How is a thought leader different from an influencer?
A thought leader is someone who has authority over a specific topic. Thought leaders are the people who have knowledge in their fields and are able to share it with others. They can be found in all industries, from design to medicine, where they could help raise the standards through various training courses or by consulting.
Thought leaders are different from traditional leaders because they are not people who are followed by others, but rather people whose opinions are highly respected. Thought leaders are also different from influencers because the latter usually have a large number of followers who are loyal to them, whereas thought leaders focus more on raising awareness and making their contributions valuable for everyone in their field.
Can you talk to our readers a bit about the benefits of becoming a thought leader? Why do you think it is worthwhile to invest resources and energy into this?
One of the biggest benefits is being recognized as an authority in your industry.
Being a thought leader brings you respect and acknowledgment from others who are working alongside you or have the same profession. It also gives them more trust in your opinions.
Aside from that, being a thought leader gives you the opportunity to work together with other people who are passionate about the same things you are, which is something that boosts creativity and collaboration.
You can also use your influence to help others in an organization or in society.
Finally, it can help establish you as an expert at what you do, which will lead to more opportunities.
Let’s talk about business opportunities specifically. Can you share a few examples of how thought leadership can help a business grow or create lucrative opportunities?
Thought leadership can help a business grow in many ways.
First, it can help them establish their reputation within the industry by being thought of as people with great ideas. Another way is to have their services or products endorsed by influential people who believe in what they do. Thought leaders are also known for having large networks of connections, which can lead to more business opportunities.
A few examples would be a thought leader having a large number of loyal customers who will constantly go back to him for advice, an endorsement from a thought leader being enough to convince people to buy your products or services, and lastly, the trustworthiness of a thought leader can help increase sales of your business if they are endorsed by him or have his recommendation.
Ok. Now that we have that behind us, we’d love to hear your thoughts about how to eventually become a thought leader. Can you share 5 strategies that a person should implement to become known as a thought leader in their industry? Please tell us a story or example (ideally from your own experience) for each.
1. Stay up-to-date with your field by following relevant news, joining discussions, and getting involved in relevant projects. As for me, I have more than 30 years of experience in the business but I still spend a lot of time familiarizing myself with the latest technology trends that may benefit our projects.
2. Engage with others; the more you give the more you get back. Discuss topics that are related to your profession or industry on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter, or create blog posts to share what you think are important within your field. For example, I keep a blog where I share not only my thoughts and our projects related to the industry but also initiatives that I join or start. By doing this, I hope to inspire others to try and make a difference in this world.
3. Be yourself, be open-minded, and be approachable. Being an authentic thought leader is important because it will allow you to show people who you really are. You can do this by blogging about your own personal experiences in your profession or talking about things that you feel passionate about. You should also give yourself the freedom to be able to share opinions and ideas that other people may disagree with — as long as you’re open-minded and approachable, it’s important to show your viewers that we’re all just humans trying to learn from each other.
4. Have strong knowledge in your field and be willing to put yourself out there even if you make mistakes. I think the most important thing is to have experience and great knowledge in your profession so that when others ask you questions, you can provide answers that show how passionate you are about what you do. With that being said, it’s okay to make mistakes. Showing your viewers or customers that you are willing to learn together with them will make them trust you more.
5. Be creative in the way you share your ideas. People are visual beings so it’s important to show what you mean instead of just telling them. It’s okay to have fun with it as well!
I think that creativity is very important when trying to be a thought leader. Being creative in the way you share your ideas will make it more interesting for others to read or watch. By doing this, you can capture their attention and show them what you mean instead of just telling them plain facts.
In your opinion, who is an example of someone who has done a fantastic job as a thought leader? Which specific things have impressed you about that person? What lessons can we learn from this person’s approach?
In my opinion, Elon Musk is a genius who has been able to inspire people from all over the world.
One specific thing that I’ve admired about him is his willingness to not give up on things even when there are many forces working against him. He shows the best example of being creative in overcoming obstacles by thinking outside of the box. From my own experience, I believe that this is an important quality to have as a thought leader because it takes courage and creativity to come up with ideas that can change the world.
I have seen some discussion that the term “thought leader” is trite, overused, and should be avoided. What is your feeling about this? How do you see the term “thought leader” evolving in its usage?
I think that it is a very powerful term and I disagree that it should be avoided. Thought leader is a term that not only describes what kind of person someone is, but also how he or she acts. It’s an important leadership position to have which makes us responsible for our actions.
In addition, since it is still a relatively new term, I’m not sure how it will be used in the future but I believe that as more people understand its meaning, it can be used to inspire other leaders and encourage them to become role models themselves.
What advice would you give to other leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?
I think that it’s important to learn how to manage your time and energy efficiently. I advise people who are in leadership positions to take time for themselves and make sure they’re well-rested, doing activities outside of work (like exercising), and eating well so they can be their best selves every day. Remembering why we got into this profession or role can also help us keep things in perspective.
Furthermore, I also recommend people take time off their jobs and travel because it will help them appreciate home more after coming back.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I think that there are many things I would like to inspire such as education, career advice, and anti-bullying. For example, those who may not be as familiar with technology can benefit from learning about it because it is a powerful tool that can help people around the world collaborate together and solve issues more efficiently. If we can inspire more people to learn about it and how to use them, we will be able to make the world a better place.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
As per Donald Trump’s words, I truly believe that “The best is yet to come.”
Always remember that no matter what has happened in your life or how many times you get knocked down, it is important to pick yourself up and keep trying to reach your dreams.
If you succeed, then congratulations! However, if you don’t get there right away, that’s okay too because it just means that there are still more opportunities for you to try again.
We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have lunch or breakfast? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Donald Trump for sure! I would love to sit down with him and learn from his experience. I admire how he has been so successful in multiple fields and the fact that he is also a family man.
It would be amazing if we could have a conversation about faith, business, what it takes to be an effective leader, and all of his future plans for more success.
I am sure that our conversation would be extremely insightful and eye-opening for me.
How can our readers follow you online?
To those who want to know more about me and what I do, you can check my website at https://peterzieve.net/. Aside from that, you can also follow me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/peterzieve/.
As for our projects and services at Electroimpact, you can visit the company’s official website.
Thank you so much for your insights. This was very insightful and meaningful.
Dr Peter Zieve of Electroimpact: 5 Things You Should Do To Become a Thought Leader In Your Industry was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.