Developing a following is not as simple as coming up with a good idea or creating an innovative product and waiting for people to discover it.

You need to work directly with customers and build a relationship with them in order for people to consider working with you. The nature of building a following is changing because of the number of people that are all trying to do the same thing.

How do you stand out from the crowd? How does a customer, particularly when working in social media and creating content, discern the signal from the noise? Having an amount of authenticity certainly helps.

What may help even more than being authentic is having a purpose. What can your product or content do for me? This may be an easier sell if you already have a relationship with someone. But to a complete stranger that stumbles across your Twitter account or blog, it may be a much harder sell.

The same line of thinking applies to leaders of organizations.

As the head, what are you doing to lead your senior managers and get them to help you build the company or at least execute your agenda? Aside from reviewing business metrics, what are you doing with your senior management team to provide strategic guidance to them?

This kind of action is subtle and similar to the work a gardner may perform in pruning a tree. The gardener plays close attention to the tree and how it is growing. He makes adjustments carefully over the years with the end goal in mind. Knowing where and when to clip or prune is key in helping the tree achieve its ideal end state.

Leadership is the same way.

It’s not enough to dictate orders from the head of a table. You must work carefully with all aspects of your organization to mold it. Building a tribe or following requires the same level of attention.

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