Be a Thought Leader
You know the guy or gal everyone seeks out for feedback or to brainstorm with because he/she knows their stuff? Their thoughts, strategies, ideas are cutting-edge, intuitive, assertive, even gutsy but not in a give-caution-to-the-wind sort of way. Sure you know him/her. You want to be him/her. But how? How does a person achieve that status? Your ambition to be a thought leader is spot on and here’s why. Being known as an individual who drives innovation and new ideas is a valuable tool in the career growth arsenal, no matter what the profession. Being well connected and respected in your field? A definite plus in any career equation. So, where does one sign-up for the “thought leader” course? If only it were that simple! While an education is important, no one class, certification, or degree can make you into a thought leader. A thought leader becomes known as such by:
- Blending his/her education and experience to create a strong knowledge base. Because it’s what you know - training, certification, degrees - combined with hands-on experience and then infused with a burning passion for a particular field that melds into a dynamic force known as a thought leader.
- Proving his/her worth to industry leaders by their “always on” status that provides insight across an array of industry components. Someone who “steps up to the plate” and doesn’t let setbacks sideline his/her passion. He/she is all in, wouldn’t consider bowing out when curve balls enter the game but rather enjoys the challenge to go deeper. And welcomes the opportunity to share his/her accumulated knowledge and experience with others.
- Continually refining his/her skill set and knowledge base to strengthen his/her area of expertise. Seeking out learning and growing opportunities that will stretch and challenge them to greater knowledge and both broader and deeper experiences.
- Facilitating interesting, worthwhile conversations, discussions, even debates. No waiting around for someone else to get the dialogue flowing, no way. The conscientious thought leader is on the lookout for even the smallest opening to get a conversation going. These industry experts know to set aside time for the bigger discussions rather than take the “it’ll happen eventually” approach.
- Leveraging the value of multiple channels. Speaking opportunities – check. Blogging, guest blogging, forums – triple check. Online networking groups – check. Conference, workshop, seminar participation – yep, yep, yep. Social media as a branding tool? Absolutely.
- Consistently introducing new ideas, sharing insights, and putting ones’ self out there. Which means a continual priming of the pump to keep the energy and momentum flowing; to keep your name top of mind. It’s a position that requires ongoing research, review, and feedback to maintain.