So you’re ready to establish yourself as an IT thought leader. From last week’s blog, Thought Leadership – Part I, you understand what a thought leader is, why it’s important, and the personal costs involved; but now you’re ready to move forward. Of course, it’s not a simple one-two-three, and you’re there, but these steps will guide you on your journey.
Brand – Brand – Brand: Establishing a personal brand is essential to your IT career, but it is the heart of thought leadership.
· Discover your personal passion – what excites your IT persona more than anything else? What inspires you to “dig in” until you find the answers? Identifying that sweet spot where your IT skills, experience, interests, and creative thoughts all come together is the foundation of your thought leadership. You can’t sell yourself until you know yourself.
- Identify where you want your IT brand to take you. Where do your ideas for future possibilities fall? Where do you see yourself making a significant difference within the IT community?
- Now, go over your social media structure with a fine-toothed comb. Clean out anything less than “pristine clean” and revamp your profiles. Include the details of your accomplishments and credentials – anything that represents you, your passions, your skills, your experience, etc. Highlight whatever connects with who you are and where you want to go.
Connection – Connection – Connection: Build relationships with influencers in the IT arena. Seek a mentor or mentors who is already leading in the IT community (or, at least is ahead of you on the path).
- Learn from them. Pay attention to what they do. Listen to what they say – across the table and on their social media. What makes the way they think different than the norm? What propels them forward in their IT niche?
- Seek their support by respecting their time as well as their expertise. Listen to, and act upon their advice. Show appreciation.
Network – Network – Network: Never stop expanding your professional connections.
- Choose the social media platforms that best fit your goals. Get involved in as many as possible, but don’t overextend – it’s better to do several well than many poorly.
- Attend networking events. Face-to-face connections help establish you in your industry niche.
- Network and learn at the same time by attending conferences, as well as participating in webinars, online forums, discussion groups, etc.
Content – Content – Content: Publishing is the name of the game – the path to getting your name as a byword among IT groups.
- Create a blog. Post on it weekly, but skip the fluff. Discuss hot topics. Try for a fresh slant. Invite comments and respond promptly – even to the negative ones. The way you respond to fire is often the road to respect among your online community.
- Link your blogs to your social media platforms
- Invite guest bloggers who are already established as experts.
- Inquire about posting guest blogs on other sites.
- Seek opportunities to be published in IT newsletters, magazines, online channels, etc. The more you get your name out there – providing your content is pertinent, well-written, and leads to innovation – the more you will be established as a recognized expert.
Influence – Influence – Influence: Remember, as a thought leader, your goal will be to persuade and inspire others – to lead positive change in the IT arena.
- Pay attention to what is resonating among your IT colleagues. What are the hot topics? What are your thoughts and ideas in these areas? How can you make a difference?
- Look for opportunities to speak at those networking events we discussed. Even if initially you only open the event, you are establishing yourself as an expert in your arena.
- Influencing others requires more than intellect – connect with your emotions too.
Innovate – Innovate – Innovate: Lead the way – break through IT boundaries.
- Overcome your personal inhibitions and put new ideas on the table.
- Move forward with your new ideas. Drive change, by leading change. Sure, sometimes your IT idea won’t work, but the things you learned in the process will almost always lead to another idea – and sometimes it puts you at the front of a break-through.
- Be confident – even over confident. If you don’t believe in your new ideas, neither will anyone else.
As we said in the beginning, becoming a thought leader isn’t easy, but it is possible and definitely worth the effort. Here at Cynergies Solutions, we are looking for thought leaders and those IT candidates who are motivated to become one. We specialize in matching quality IT personnel with quality companies across multiple industries. After all, every company needs IT leaders. Contact us today.