If knowledge workers aspire to be knowledge thought leaders for the organizations in which they are employed, how do they go about it? Is there a list of qualifications or attributes that define the knowledge thought leader?
It’s no struggle to find a few. Simply by defining the terms we can move forward in identifying some of the attributes of a knowledge thought leader. First of all, as someone once wrote (Peter Drucker?), a leader is someone who has followers, so perhaps a quick way to define a knowledge thought leader is to look around. In terms of KM/knowledge services/managing the organization as a knowledge culture, who’s being listened to? Who is the “go-to” person for issues, questions, intellectually provocative conversations relating to KM and knowledge services? Is there such a person who can be identified (if there isn’t I would question the organization’s commitment to the value of knowledge in organizational effectiveness – if knowledge isn’t being shared, I’m not sure knowledge is important to the company)?
A second attribute might be visibility. Not speaking about popularity here. Lots of folks are popular but you wouldn’t go to them for guidance when you have a question about how to handle a particular knowledge development/knowledge sharing (KD/KS) situation. A knowledge leader is probably known to a lot of people as just that, a recognized leader in the organization who is known for his or her skill in managing knowledge-related situations.
If you were looking (all other things being equal) to identify the perfect knowledge thought leader for your company or organization, what would you be looking for? What do you define a knowledge thought leaders?
Ulla de Stricker says
Guy, your question reminds me of a distinction in terms of celebrity and funding: There is the "famous" subject matter expert go-to person – who e.g. dispenses wisdom, knows everybody, solves problems, and generally is associated with success – and there is the (not necessarily famous) person who thinks systematically about how knowledge is earned, kept, and shared in an organization. (Lucky the organization in which the two are the same person.) Could the former help the latter if the lack of "sizzle factor" is a funding barrier?