Many of us has a title that is connected to what we do at work. Every now and then I come across titles that makes me wonder what it really means. This time it is one that has been around for some time now: Thought Lead, what does this mean? I would not be suprised if there is a good explanation of how this title first came into place, but I do not think this is well known and I have not researched it.
Now, what reaction do I get when someone claim to be a Thought Lead. There are several things that come to my mind. One is, if there is a Thought Lead there must be Thought Followers. That is nothing new, it goes way back and if I do not recall wrong quite a big thing in the bible for instance. To follow ones thought is not by default something bad as long it is by free choice and own will. It should be done after careful and critical evaluation of the thought to follow and that it is only one of many other thoughts from different persons that you follow so you do not end up with one all mighty leader.
But having an appointed Thought Lead at a company implies that this is the person with thoughts and that the others are not allowed to have thoughts of their own. Instead they must follow the Lead. This sounds like a very constrained company to work in and I do not think it is good for either the Lead nor the Followers to be in this set up. If you are truly advanced in your thoughts, you most likely have come to this by lots of discussions with others who has challenged your thinking and you have been inspired by other peoples thoughts.
If you are a follower you maybe have your own ideas or you get inspired by your leaders idea and like to evolve it. But the company has pointed out a Thought Lead so then it is not likely there is any room for your own thinking, you are merely a follower who is expected to praise your lord.
I especially find this title very strange in our field of testing since we are expected to be critical thinkers, lateral thinkers, curious, ask what if…, question the obvious, look for the hidden. This does not rhyme very well with the idea of appointing Thought Leads in an organization. It should not be in our nature to accept Thought Leads.
One other reflection I have on this is that if you have to have Thought Lead in your title I get very suspicious of how well your thinking really is. It is like you feel the need to tell me that you are a really good thinker instead of showing it to me.
I do not believe that it is Thought Leads we need. However, Thought Peers, where we see each person as unique and we seek to learn from each other. We do not consider ourselves as better than others, instead we help and inspire others who has not yet taken the same next step as we have. To develop we do not need a system with hierarchy of thoughts where it matters from whom the thought is coming from.
This is how I interpret the title Thought Lead. Now all you Thought Leads out there, what do you intend to say with your title?