5 Tips For Being a Thought Leader

What does being a thought leader mean to you? For me, it means being seen as the go-to source of information and being a beacon for future generations, whether that be teaching in the classroom or being a mentor in industry. Thought leadership can take many forms, including conducting in-depth research of tomorrow’s trends, publishing thought-provoking articles, and sharing knowledge with others on an individual basis. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up during my career as a professor and as IMA’s vice president of research and policy and professor-in-residence.

1. Stand out from the crowd
It’s important to keep an eye on competitors, but you’ll get more value out of creatingGroup Of Business People Listening To Speaker Giving Presentationdiverse, original material. Whether you’re speaking at an event or to your coworkers, offering relevant, timely, and accurate thought leadership shows that you are invested in your audience and their future. For example, IMA’s research is funded in-house and is authentic, original material.

2. Prove your credibility
Your products need to be credible. Conduct your own research, surveys, or studies andShot of a young female assistant using a tablet with her boss working in the backgroundprove that you’re capable of getting real results—that’s credibility. Also, getting your name out there by publishing articles, presenting at conferences, and speaking at events helps you become more credible. Being a thought leader means you’re the go-to person for information in your industry.

3. Show your passion
If you aren’t passionate about the thought leadership you’re producing, why produce it?  Make sure that what you’re writing, speaking about, or researching is worth your time—because if it isn’t, your audience won’t be passionate about it either. Thought leadership is only valuable if people acknowledge it. Showing your audience that you’re passionate about your work will also increase engagement, both online and offline.

4. Engage your audience
Understanding your audience’s needs will help you produce better and more relevant thought leadership. What do they care about most? You can find out by sending themGreat presentation! Group of happy business people in smart casual wear sitting together at the table and applauding to someonean online survey, or engage with them on social media, at in-person events, or via e-mail or phone calls. This will help you create loyal, long-term stakeholders that follow your thought leadership. In addition, studying the trends will help you plan for future research, publications, or speaking engagements.

5. Pass it on
Students and young professionals are the future of our profession. Passing on knowledge from educator to student, from supervisor to employee, and from peer to peer is an important responsibility of being a thought leader. Knowledge sharing is also one of the best ways to become a thought leader, especially since the growth of the digital landscape has made it a lot easier and quicker to share information.

Be a Thought Leader
Becoming a thought leader doesn’t happen over night. It takes time to build your brand and become recognized in your field. IMA has become a thought leader in management accounting over the past 97 years. Our thought-provoking, relevant, and timely publications contribute to our overall success, and it all started with the goal to one day become a thought leader. Anyone can become a thought leader if they’re passionate about and persistent to achieving their goals.

Written by Dr. Raef Lawson, CMA, CPA, CFP, CFA
Follow me on Twitter @RaefLawson

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The CMA: A Global Passport

IMA’s CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification is in high demand by professionals around the world. More than 3,500 professionals earned the CMA in fiscal year 2015 and more than 15,000 accounting and finance professionals entered

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the CMA program. It is a globally recognized certification—a passport—that professionals can take with them from job to job and from country to country. It’s a valued, trusted certification that helps professionals progress in their careers and continue their education throughout their career. Earning the CMA means that you have passed a rigorous test, have met the education and experience requirements, and are committed to continuous learning. When I meet CMAs in my travels, I see two common themes: pride and aspiration.

Pride

CMAs take pride in knowing they add value to their company, whether they’re in Dallas, Dubai, or Shanghai and regardless of whether they work for a local company or a global brand. They recognize and embrace the credential’s integrity, rigor, and relevance. Earning the credential proves to employers your competency and expertise in management accounting and builds your personal brand.

I recently spoke about the CMA program at several IMA events in the Middle East. I was excited by the participants’ response and level of interest in the CMA credential. Many participants approached me after the session to learn more about enrolling in the program. This shows how the global recognition of the CMA has grown and continues to grow.

Aspiration

The CMA also helps change the lives of individuals both in terms of their career growth and their financial opportunities. Not only do CMAs earn more annual salary and compensation than their noncertified peers, but they’re also seen as Group of people on a seminar. Focus is on business woman receiving a certificate from a lecturer. [url=http://www.istockphoto.com/search/lightbox/9786622][img]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/40117171/business.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://www.istockphoto.com/search/lightbox/9786738][img]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/40117171/group.jpg[/img][/url]well-respected business leaders who help shape the management accounting profession through their valuable knowledge and skill set. CMAs work in jobs that are interesting—analytical business partners supporting decisions that help organizations grow.

 

Professionals in the CMA program aspire to be Corporate Controllers, CFOs, and even CEOs of their companies, and they know that the CMA can advance their career. The CMA program is a career-long journey of continuous education, requiring CMAs to stay current on business trends and best practices in management accounting through earning continuing professional education (CPE) credits. Each year, CMAs are required to earn 30 CPE credits, including two in ethics training, to maintain the credential.

Enrich Your Career

Continuing education is vital for career progression. Therefore, earning specialized credentials, like the CMA, will help you advance your career and achieve your professional goals. Like a passport, the CMA opens up global opportunities, so get out there and expand your horizons.

Written by Dennis Whitney, CMA, CFM, CAE
Follow me on Twitter: @IMA_DWhitney

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