By Gemma Morris
18th November 2015

In our Fourth instalment in KDR’s Thought Leader series we spoke to our three top thought leaders: Howard Dresner, Mike Ferguson and Chris Bradley, to get some advice for any aspiring thought leaders out there.

Take a look at what they had to say:

Howard DresnerHoward Dresner – Chief Research Officer and Business Intelligence Author

"I think the best thought leaders are not trying to be thought leaders. They’re subject-matter experts simply trying to help others. You also have to be persistent and stay committed. It takes years to establish (and maintain) a reputation."

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

“Firstly don’t “seek” to be a thought leader.  It’s something bestowed upon you, not a thing you can claim yourself.  To achieve this you need to write and say things that demonstrate a new thought, idea or concept and clearly and concisely communicate that notion.  A regular supply of good quality material & presence on peer selected speaking events is important too.  I'm rather sceptical of the events where the speakers, often from the big name organisations are “chosen” by virtue of the amount their company is sponsoring the event for.”

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

  • “Be systematic – Don’t be a hare, be a tortoise and just keep going
  • Don’t communicate by email – go and see people
  • Strive for continuous improvement
  • Go narrow and deep in your area of expertise and build out around it
  • Surround yourself with mentors and doers
  • Work hard and raise your level of standards
  • Partner with people you have grown to trust and not who you think might boost your image
  • Don’t be afraid to say I don’t know
  • Invest in your own learning and never stop
  • Always be honest"

We’d love to hear any thoughts on this series in the comments below. We would also like to thank; Howard, Chris and Mike for providing such fantastic insights into the life of Thought Leaders.

We hope that you've enjoyed our Thought Leader series, if you've missed any of the instalments then click on the links below to catch up:

Part one - What are thought leaders made of?

Part two - Do you have what it takes to be a thought leader?

Part three - The real responsibilities of a thought leader

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