How to Be a Leader in an Age of Information Overload

I talk frequently about curation and what a valuable tool it is. I teach my students and clients that the time to curate content like this is when you find the paragraphs you WISH you’d written and you can add value to the curated content in the process. Jeff Goins is one of the most influential writers in social media and he recently shared this:

The privilege of leadership used to belong to a select few. The social elite. The especially charismatic. The unbelievably successful.

You used to have to be the head of your own organization. Or carry a prestigious title. Influence was earned slowly over time. And few had access to it.

But now, that’s all changed.

Photo credit: Jorge Franganillo (Creative Commons)

In the age of ideas when the exchange of information is as easy as a click of the button, anyone can be a leader. In the traditional sense, leadership is dead, and influence has replaced it.

So what do you — someone who wants to lead — do?

Become a thought leader

There’s a war out there, old friend. A world war. And it’s not about who’s got the most bullets. It’s about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think… it’s all about the information!
—Cosmo, Sneakers

Start a blog. Launch a podcast. Begin recording videos of yourself and posting them on YouTube. Share your ideas with the world, and see which ones spread. This is what you need to do to see your influence grow.

In the age of the iPod, when we have instant access to gigabytes of teaching for free, the person with the best data (not the most) wins.

We don’t need more information. We need better information. We need compelling reasons to believe in a cause worth following. And those sharing them will be the leaders of tomorrow.

So where do you begin?

How about with collecting information? With becoming a learner (again)?

As they say, “leaders are readers.” But leaders are also conversationalists and event attendees.

They take people out to coffee and make friends at a party. Introvert or extrovert, they put themselves out there.

And if you want to lead, you will have to do the same.

An opportunity to lead (and learn)

Be honest. You don’t need more information. You need better discernment. I recently heard Alli Worthington share the following:

I hate it when people say they don’t know how to do something… Have you heard of Google?!

We all know this. Still, we struggle with knowing what information to believe or follow. So many choices, so little results. We just get paralyzed.

We need a process to curate. To figure out what works for us and what doesn’t. This is why I love organizations who demonstrate excellence of thought leadership not only through their example, but also through organized efforts to bring ideas and leaders together.

Source: How to Be a Leader in an Age of Information Overload | Goins, Writer

Me? I think Michael Moon of Gistics nailed it in his epic book Firebrands back in 1996. Moon hypothesized that we have now entered into a “5th Era” of man; the era of ‘trust networks’…


The potential that Jeff Goins describes is to use the “good, fast, and cheap” publishing tools available to us to become a ‘thought leader’ who heads up a trust network. If you’re intrigued by Jeff’s ideas but have no clue as to where to start comment below or use the ‘connect’ form; I offer the tools and the tactics – a ‘process for curation’ that can help you establish a thought leadership position through effective content management and content marketing…

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3 thoughts on “How to Be a Leader in an Age of Information Overload

  1. Great article, Todd! The “start by collecting” method appeals to me as a novice GTD-er, and the idea of leading with the best and most trusted information motivates me to stick with it to achieve that outcome. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this!


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