Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


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What are your 5 whys?

One of the quickest, simplest approaches to performing root cause analysis (finding the answers for why something happened the way it did) is to use the 5 whys technique. Using this approach, you write a statement that contains the problem or question you want to resolve. Next you ask ‘why?’ to the statement and write the answer. If that is not the root or cause you’re looking for, you ask ‘why?’ and continue to answer the question ‘why’ until you get to the root cause and can go no further. Continue reading


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What is the real driver of your success?

Every so often something happens that brings into question long, and sometimes closely held beliefs. One of those happened this morning.

An important topic, one that has—I thought—defined who I am and the way I work, was turned on its head. Yesterday I purchased and downloaded Scott Adams’ (of Dilbert fame) audio book: How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, and was listening to it on my morning run. He uses humor, as you’d expect. What I didn’t expect was that, in talking about success, he would throw out—with the ‘bath water’—a something I had long embraced as key element of success. Continue reading


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Six Channels of Influence: How to Navigate Them Effectively

Guest post by Willy Steiner

The human being is a self-propelled automaton entirely under the control of external influences. Willful and predetermined though they appear, his actions are governed not from within, but from without. He is like a float tossed about by the waves of a turbulent sea.” – Nikola Tesla

Humans are very complex organisms. We are the sum of the various influences of our lives – family, educational, religious, social, national and organizational. I had a client who worked quite a few years in a top-down, command-and-control type of environment. When his boss concurred with his recommendations, that seal of approval, that authority, was all he needed to influence things. When I got to know him he had moved to another organization and proceeded to start with buy-in from his boss prior to the implementation of various solutions. But he got significant cultural resistance because this was not a command-and-control type of environment. He had to work hard developing relationships to get buy-in and reduce resistance. Once we appreciated the differences in influence style between the different organizations, I was very proud to see how my client worked hard to adapt to this new model of influence in the new organization. Continue reading


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How deep is your desire to succeed?

As I’ve gotten older and seen more the of what the world offers, I’ve come to realize that success depends as much on the desire of an individual as anything else. Hard work, persistence and intelligence also factor in, and depending on the endeavor (for which one is striving to succeed) these may play a bigger role. However, without a burning inner desire, your chance of success is greatly diminished.

While there are many ways desire helps you meet objectives, here are three factors that, if focused on, will accellerate your path to success: Continue reading


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How are you using your time?

A common response when you ask somebody for their help or their input is “I don’t have enough time.” This is an interesting response given that we all have the same amount of time – 24 hours in a day. When someone doesn’t have enough time it usually means they are focused on something at that moment and don’t want (or feel it’s worth their time) to stop what they’re doing and help you. They don’t have any “white space” at the moment. Continue reading


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How can leaders use 360-degree feedback to boost employee engagement?

Guest post by Steve Brown

One of the popular approaches to improving performance and employee engagement is to set up 360-degree reviews. With this process, a person gets feedback from their peers, as well as their manager. Management people also get feedback from the people who report to them. The fact that you receive performance feedback from many directions is why it’s termed 360-degree feedback. While many companies have achieved good results with this system, others have failed. Here are some steps for understanding and using 360-degree feedback effectively. Continue reading


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The importance of leadership in effective management

There are many elements that make a good manager, however, one of the critical qualities is leadership. Leadership and management must go hand in hand, but they are not the same thing. Leadership and management are complementary, but it is important to understand how they differ.

Leadership is about vision and innovation, whereas management is about maintenance of excellent standards. A leader innovates and a manager administrates on the innovation. A leader focuses on individuals and inspires them, a manager focuses on systems and structure. A leader always has their eye on the horizon, whereas a manager should be watching the bottom line.

While it is important to be aware of the difference between management and leadership it is vital to understand that a good manager is also a leader. In the infographic below we explore the elements that make a good manager, leadership being a principle feature of good management. Continue reading

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