The thrust from a good professional to an industry leader requires a proactive approach. One bold way to effect a transition is by applying experience to undertake research and set the rule for others to follow. A more common approach is by disseminating knowledge through blogs, forums, or even by writing books. Such efforts serve as the best proof of one’s knowledge and skills and allow others to make such an assessment. Success depends on the consistency, and authenticity of such efforts. For instance, people hardly recognize a person who populates all forums for a week and then fades off, or someone who merely copy-pastes from textbooks. It's better, rather, to strive to participate on a consistent basis and make sure input adds value to the discussions and offers insights not found in textbooks.
Take decisions considering the big picture or long-term implications. For instance, a new job might provide much-needed better salary or flextime options, but might relate to an area of expertise not connected with one’s key strengths; this may result in being cut off from a painstakingly developed professional image. For instance, a marketing professional taking up a copywriting job, though still connected would not have the opportunity to apply the acquired marketing skills or add to the experience and stake claim to be a marketing head-honcho. Factor such indirect costs before making the change.
Finally, never underestimate general competencies such as good communication skills, time management skills, willingness to share knowledge, remaining self-motivated, commitment, patience, perseverance, persistence, and other traits. Such requirements are evergreen, the basic requirements for establishing industry expertise.