IT leaders have a unique vantage point. They are the only business function that sees the entire organization at a process, data, and transaction level. This cross-functional and multi-dimensional view provides IT with the opportunity to identify cross-departmental process and technology synergies, use internal technologies designed for one part of the organization in other areas with similar operational needs, and assess newly released software and hardware products for applicability across the business.\n\nBecause of their cross-functional view, CIOs are well positioned to be thought leaders in the organization, becoming leading internal voices for both discipline-based innovations (i.e., those impacting a single department or job type) and functional-based innovations (i.e., more general process and technology enhancements).\n\nThis puts CIOs at the intersection of business and technology\u2014what I like to call the Golden Triangle:\n\nUnderstanding IT megatrends. It has been a fascinating time to watch the continued and accelerated movement in software and hardware technologies that can be employed by IT for business purpose. This includes advances in machine learning, blockchain, cyber security, cloud computing, virtual\/augmented reality, edge computing, facial recognition, chatbot technology, the list goes on and on. You may look at this list and think these innovations are not new, and in truth many of them have been around for years. But as time moves forward, they get more mature, function-rich, and capable of being incorporated into standard production IT systems.\n\nAs IT executives, it\u2019s easy for us to only look inward into our company\u2019s current technologies, identified business needs, and software applications tailored to our specific industries. This is not from a lack of interest but a lack of time. But to embrace the thought leader role, you should widen your focus to include these five categories:\n\nUnderstanding your industry. This leg of the triad is about understanding your business partners, your company\u2019s role and effectiveness in the marketplace, the competitive landscape, and industry trends. You should also be watchful of the general economy, federal and state legislation related to your industry, customer demographics, and other external factors related to your industry.\n\nThe Golden Triangle aside, gaining this business knowledge has many other professional benefits. You\u2019ll be better at anticipating your business partners\u2019 and clients\u2019 needs, which will enhance your current job performance. And you\u2019ll be more likely to get a seat at the business strategy table because you can talk with your peers from a business as well as a technical perspective.\n\nUnderstanding the intersection. This third point on the triangle is about transforming from being a \u201cknowledge collector\u201d to a \u201cknowledge provider.\u201d\n\nWhile fluency in both technology trends and industry business issues is a strong basis for providing thought leadership to your IT team, business partners, and organizational leadership, you\u2019ll also need to master the following traits that are the embodiment of IT thought leadership: \n\nTaking these steps will go a long way toward enhancing both your professional reputation and IT\u2019s overall value to the organization.