How researchers get heard
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The Forbidden List

You already have this list, if only in your head. Everyone who runs or works for a research-driven organization does.

It’s the list of all the evidence-based things you and your researchers don’t feel you can say or talk about publicly. Because they’d contradict your organization’s messaging. They’d anger a funder. They’d alienate an important ally in your department or division. They’d blow up on Twitter.

If you’re serious about using thought leadership content to leverage impact for your expertise, you need to write down your forbidden list. You need to gather your researchers and have them do a mind dump about everything on the list. Including the items you as their leader are putting there.

Then you need to figure out ahead of time the clever ways you can talk about what you want to talk about while staying within the guardrails of your context.

And then: how you might challenge and push back those guardrails ahead of time, well before your troublesome paper or op-ed or podcast or thought pops out.

Takeaway: We all have guardrails. Saying that “I’m a researcher and I answer to nothing but the findings” makes a nice epitaph. It’s not how anyone’s world works, except for a thin crust of academics.

What’s on your list? And how are you going to say what you need to say anyway?

Welcome to leadership.