Thought leadership

You have to be a thought leader in order to recognize one.

I hear the term thought leader bestowed upon people occasionally. I have even bestowed this term on some people that I consider to be extremely knowledgeable about building data warehouse systems.

The wealth of information for data management best practices continues to grow. Thought leaders can publish knowledge about solving a particular problem in a variety of forums now: blogs, books, articles, and even research papers. The sheer volume of information about the "best practices" is almost intimidating.

The ability to take in all of the information about best practices for a subject area, apply it to the situation at hand, consolidating the recommendations from multiple sources as well as ignoring those recommendations that are not applicable make you a thought leader. Google provides a way of finding a site that answers a particular question. If a person does not ask the correct question, Google does not provide a good answer. Once Google finds a particular answer to a keyword query you have to apply that answer to your particular situation.

Let us take a specific example.

The question should not be:

What is the best way to build A data warehouse?

The question should be:

What is the best way to build THIS data warehouse?

Even something as simple as learning a how to apply a new SQL trick that you learned to a specific problem you are working on shows the application of this knowledge. Best practices can be abstract, or even theoretical. When you can take recommendations from many sources and apply their expertise to your specific problem you have taken a big step.

This can apply to many other professional areas.  SEO, Business Analysis, Business Process Re-engineering, ETL development,Resume writing, Financial Analysis, Online Marketing,  etc...

If you can study multiple sources and apply their recommendations or findings to your own situation, you become a thought leader.

You become a recognized thought leader when you write about it. 

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