By Gemma Morris
27th October 2015

The second article in our Thought Leader series takes a look at what is expected of those holding the thought leader status. We asked our top three thought leaders, Howard Dresner, Mike Ferguson and Chris Bradley what they believe is needed from a true industry leader and got some great insights.

Take a look at what they had to say:

Chris Bradley – an Information Management and Data Governance Evangelist and Independent Data Strategy Advisor

“You need to have credible experience to back up what you’re talking about. I personally find it amusing that some “experts” are wet behind the ears & don’t have much real world experience. To be taken seriously you must have something to back it up. Additionally you must be able to communicate and get a message or position across without being seen as too opinionated or too bland.

It’s far more use to a reader to be given a view or position rather than a bland “I agree with everyone else” paper. Finally you've got to have a good and regular feed of articles, not simply rely on a great piece you did 10 years ago, and this has to be backed up with recent real work experience … I'm not sure that I really trust the speakers who do nothing but lecture – where’s the contemporary real world experience they have to back up the talk? On my Linkedin, Blog & Slideshare are some of the recent papers and talks I've given.”

Mike Ferguson – an Independent Analyst and Consultant specialising in Business Intelligence/Analytics, Data Management and Big Data

  • “Always keep learning and listening
  • Always remember there are people out there way smarter than you are
  • Never attempt to bluff your way – someone will root you out
  • Learn to translate complexity into plain English
  • If you are confused and don’t get it then break it down and separate things out until your ‘penny drops’
  • Learn to communicate in diagrams and not text
  • Less is more (although I still struggle with that)
  • Own up when you don’t know and then get to the point where you do know
  • If you don’t get it right, keep trying until you do
  • Believe in yourself and never give up.”

Howard Dresner – Chief Research Officer and Business Intelligence Author

“I don’t think it was ever really about career success. It was more about fulfilling my role as an educator and communicator. And, these days it’s also about building communities of interest and drawing upon (and sharing) the knowledge and experiences of others.”

What level of experience and/or qualifications would you expect from your favourite thought leaders? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.

Part three in our Thought Leader article series will take a look at the opportunities and subsequent responsibilities that are gained from this status... Is it worth becoming a thought leader? Find out what our three top thought leaders had to say!

If you missed part one, catch up here: What are thought leaders made of?


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