We have many people in our industry that provide thought leadership. I have been fortunate to work with several colleagues at EMC that are excellent at thought leadership including Joe Tucci, and Chad Sakac, and several others in different specialties.
I believe the people best at inspiring thought leadership force you to think and engage in the dialogue about a topic. Through this dialogue the point of view becomes sharper. I like the simple thought leadership definition Joel Kurtzman introduced in 1994:
"Thought leadership is about furthering a discussion that leads to action."
I strive to demonstrate thought leadership and find fulfillment when I am engaged in this process with groups of really smart and collaborative people. In addition to my role at EMC I find participating in local user groups which are easy to find through services like Meetup is a great way to engage in dialogue and sharpen your point of view. Participation takes commitment --commitment to attend meetings, and participate in dialogues. Showing up to meetings is not enough for you or the group to get the maximum benefit. This past week I was selected as a 2016 Cisco Champion and EMC Elect program. This is my second consecutive year being selected by these communities to be a member. I am very much honored to be nominated and selected for these groups. I have found these groups to generate a lot of thought leadership on difficult challenges like cloud security, IoT, software defined infrastructure, and continually updating your knowledge and skills. I am looking forward to participating in these communities to drive thought leadership in this time of great change in IT.
I have also found that it is important not only participate but you need to server as a leader, handling the operational overhead needed for meetings, and governing the interaction of the group. This past year I lead several meeting Cisco Champion community weekly calls and was fortunate enough to be featured on the EMC Elect podcast with Mark Brown. In addition, I started and co-leading my local emerging technology user group and lead the EMC CTO Ambassadors program. The EMC CTO Ambassadors leadership is unique in the global participation of over 80 technologists and the maniacal focus we have at capturing meeting feedback. I will have more details on this program in a future post.
These communities that I participate and in some cases lead are great sounding boards to sharpen my point of view and are inspiration sources for thinking about important topics and points of view that other bring forward. During this time of such disruptive change in IT I think participating and leading technology communities is one of the best ways to learn new technologies, methodologies, and issues facing our industry. Get involved, get engaged in 2016.