It’s not about us, our image or our offerings. To excel and
win in today’s marketplace, we have to be seen as something more than mere peddlers
of products and services. We have to be thought leaders on the issues that are
most relevant to our audiences.

 To be a thought leader, one must establish a role as a

provider of superior guidance. But to accomplish this objective, we must, in a
sense, own an issue or issues.

 Where are you today and

where do you want to go in the future? Where, most importantly, do you want to
take your audience? Given the issues you identify, what questions do they raise
for your audience? If the issue is Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, then you will raise
a certain set of concerns with certain audiences. But the issue could be all
sorts of things. It might be offshore outsourcing or energy prices or turbulence
in the economy.

Whatever the issue, you are
then challenged to answer the questions it raises for your intended audience.
You ultimately must fill their knowledge gaps – or, at least, some of them.

Once
you demonstrate that you understand the key issues that matter to your audience
and the implications these issues raise for them, you are in a position to
offer recommendations that will have an impact. You are a thought leader on
your way to becoming a market leader. You are illuminating the future
.