Over the past few years, Thought Leadership has become essential in every domain as it drives companies to leave a mark on the domain in which they function. By virtue of an MBA, an individual has already imbibed how to move and inspire people with innovative ideas; turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success. Resultantly, there are a lot of opportunities for MBAs to transform organizations basis the subject matter expertise, as well as, the softer skills they pick up at business school. Moreover, with the thriving new virtual domain, opportunities for Thought Leaders have increased manifold and MBAs can surely transform this into a career.
Who is a Thought Leader?
-Someone who is a subject-matter expert; understands the business he or she operates in, as well as the needs of the customers operating in that market.
-Someone who has distinctly innovative ideas, a sense of originality, and opinions on his/her area of expertise
What is Thought Leadership in today’s age?
-A Thought Leader does not necessarily have to be a person; he or she can be a firm or a person, recognized as an authority in a specialized field by clients, stakeholders, and even competitors, resulting in that firm or person being the go-to person for matters in that particular field; needless to say, the firm or person can actually monetize this position.
What does it take to be a Thought Leader?
-One needs to be an expert in a particular area.
-One needs to have a very clear point of view that cannot be obtained elsewhere.
-There has to be an awareness of the current matters in the field; experience makes one a Thought Leader but constant engagement with the field is essential to remain relevant. To add to this, a Thought Leader should also have an opinion on the future of the field in consideration.
-One needs to have a clear opinion basis of which others can follow him or her. Moreover, a Thought Leader must also be in a position to actually inspire and influence others. So, being a Thought Leader is a two-way process – one needs to have something exceptional to offer the audience + one also needs to influence the audience to be ‘influenced’.
How an MBA would help in becoming a Thought Leader?
-It is easier to become a Thought Leader if you have already built a successful product, service, company, etc because then you not only have a natural community of your own but also an identified niche that you are successful in. This is the direction in which a lot of people going for an MBA are moving towards.
-Two very important qualities one needs to become a Thought Leader form the core of every business school curriculum:
a) As the phrase itself suggests, ‘leadership’ is an important component in thought leadership. One needs to have the confidence to conceive an idea and implement it in reality.
b) Another major quality is ‘teamwork’; it would be naive to assume that a Thought Leader is doing things on his/her own and alone; they do not do it alone and cannot do it alone; it is important that a Thought Leader mobilizes a smart team to move towards his or her goals.