You’ve probably heard of people being consultants before, but have you ever heard of thought leadership? Put in its simplest terms, thought leaders are experts in their field that are consistently sought out for their advice or opinion. While a consultant may work with a roster of clients and customers in order to help them improve their business, a thought leader is held to a higher standard and often reached for commentary on a wide range of topics and current events.
This expertise, of course, can provide a lot of exposure for thought leaders. Thought leaders are often the people you see brought in on television news shows or quoted in articles. They may be business people, academics, and gurus in some way shape, or form, but regardless of their chosen profession, they are consistently held up for their wisdom and experience. If you’re interested in becoming a thought leader, it can be helpful to examine the trajectory of another thought leader to see how they rose to success. In this case, let’s take a closer look at a leading voice in global economics, investments, and business trends, Mark Wiseman.
Thought leaders have bona fides.
So, how does one become a thought leader? A major component of transitioning from professional or consultant to the world of thought leadership has to do with what experience and accolades you have. Nobody’s going to listen to someone without at least a little bit of prestige. That’s why the decisions you make now are just as important as the decisions you made in your past when it comes to helping present yourself as a thought leader.
Take, for example, Mark Wiseman’s background. His resume is a litany of impressive roles, from serving as the Global Head of Active Equities at Blackrock to holding roles as a senior managing director and advisor at places like FCLTGlobal and Boston Consulting Group. Wiseman also shows long term commitments to past roles, including an impressive 11 years with the CPP Investment Board. Beyond his job titles, Wiseman also went to school in places that matter. His Master of Laws degree was received from Yale University, a prestigious institution that garners clout for all of its graduates.
Thought leaders dole out consistently good advice.
In recent months, Wiseman has been tapped for his opinion on a wide range of topics, most specifically the coronavirus and resulting global financial crisis. It’s important as a thought leader to be consistent in the advice you give out, since many times it’s held up in the public record. Wiseman’s a perfect example of this phenomenon since his investment advice has played out quite similarly to what he predicted.
In a piece for the Wall Street Journal, Wiseman wrote in response to the coronavirus pandemic, “If you look at a chart of the Dow Jones over 100 years you don’t see any volatility,” going on to encourage investors not to get spooked by fluctuations in stock performance because of the pandemic. In fact, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 have both recovered spectacularly since their initial downward slopes, illustrating the accuracy of Wiseman’s advice.
Thought leaders are active members of the conversation.
As a thought leader, it’s important to be a part of the conversation, even when you aren’t being called on by journalists for your two cents. One way to do this is by staying active on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, where discussion occurs more consistently than platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Wiseman tweets at least once a day, and you should, too. Another option to consider is creating weekly newsletters or blog posts that can help detail your perspective on current events. Whatever the medium, be sure to stay a part of the conversation and people will begin to gravitate towards you for your thoughts and expertise.