Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


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A new Leadership Development Carnival

The Lead on Purpose blog is featured in the September Leadership Development Carnival of Dan McCarthy’s Great Leadership blog.

September’s Leadership Carnival brings together links to more than 25 fresh posts on topics such as employee development, identifying true leaders and beating stress. You’ll find posts from great bloggers such as Wally Bock, Art Petty, Scott Eblin and others. The Leadership Development Carnival is a great way to expand your leadership knowledge and get to know the bloggers who are making it happen.


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Top 100 leadership blog

Top 100 blogsThe Daily Reviewer has name the Lead on Purpose blog one of the top 100 leadership blogs. It is a tremendous honor to be named to this list with other great blogs such as Seth’s Blog, Management Excellence, The Best Horse Sense (a personal favorite since I grew up on a ranch), Great Leadership, the Tom Peters Weblog and many other great leadership blogs. In their own words:

The Daily Reviewer selects only the world’s top blogs (and RSS feeds). We sift through thousands of blogs daily to present you the world’s best writers. The blogs that we include are authoritative on their respective niche topics and are widely read. To be included in The Daily Reviewer is a mark of excellence.

Full attribution for this honor and the success of Lead on Purpose go to the following:

  • You, the readers: Your participation in the discussions and the content of the guest posts by several have significantly contributed to the success of this blog.
  • The product management perspective: Leadership is a crucial element of successful product management, and product management & marketing are key roles in successful companies. The combination is powerful and has meaningfully contributed to the success of this blog.

I give a heart-felt thanks to all for your part in helping Lead on Purpose win this award.

- Michael Hopkin


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Provide opportunities for success

I’m away this week, so I “pre-loaded” my blog with a link to a great post.

Too many leaders fail to provide opportunities for their team members to achieve things they might never have believed they were capable of achieving. Today’s links come from Art Petty at Management Excellence. In his post Taking Chances on the Talent Around You, Art discusses the importance of providing significant growth opportunities to the people you lead. “It’s time to take some chances.”


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Providing value

Previous posts have discussed the word ‘value’ as a verb — the act of appreciating, respecting or esteeming others. However, when it comes to providing value, words like worth, importance or significance apply.

What are you doing to provide value to your organization? What significance do you bring to the table? As a leader, how do you inspire your people to give their best to your cause? These questions should coarse the minds of all leaders, especially during difficult times.

This topic is admittedly broad reaching and sufficient answers are well outside the bounds of one blog post. However, when it comes to providing value from a leadership perspective, my good friend Art Petty takes this complex topic and simplifies it into 5 Simple Rules To Be A Great Leader:

  1. Surround yourself with great people
  2. Provide them with challenging opportunities
  3. Expect the extraordinary
  4. Work like crazy to provide support
  5. Stay out of the way until you’re needed.

You have a great opportunity to add significant value as a leader in your company. Look for ways to put these rules into practice today.

The Product Management Perspective: Product managers are in a prime position to provide value to their organizations. One the most effective ways to be the star of your company is to become an expert at market sensing. To the extent you guide your company to create and sell the right products and services for your specific market, you will become the hero of your organization.


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Does your firm have the wrong type of leaders?

I’m out camping in the mountains this week, far away from the connected world, so I “pre-loaded” my blogging gun with a link to a great post.

Today’s links come from Art Petty at Management Excellence. Art recently wrote two powerful and popular posts about the “villains, thugs and hoodlums masquerading as leaders” and why they seem to prosper in some organizations. Take a few minutes to read Why Do Evil Leaders Flourish Inside Some Organizations? and then follow up with A Follow-Up to My “Evil Leaders” post: Your Firm’s Values Have No Teeth. Be sure to read the comments on both posts as well.


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Success is not a zero-sum game

In game theory and economic theory, zero-sum describes a situation in which one person’s gain is exactly balanced by another person’s loss. In games like chess, one person wins and the other loses. The win (+1) added to the loss (-1) equals zero.

Life in the business world at times feels like a zero-sum game. As you move up the ladder of success the number of positions decreases and the pressure to succeed increases. The situation can leave you feeling like the only way you can succeed is if someone else fails. While this sentiment may be common, it is wrong. In fact, most successful people freely admit they achieved their success with the help of others. The following resources substantiate my claim that success is not a zero-sum game:

According to Steve Farber — author of Greater Than Yourself — the only way for knowledge to truly lead to power in a person’s life is for that person to give it away. The reason this principle works is seemingly simple: “Everyone will want to work with you. And because of that you’ll be able to accomplish anything you set out to do.” Invest in relationships with other people and be clear on your intentions to make a difference in the lives of others. Promote their welfare, fortunes, success and capacity for achievement. Give away your knowledge, connections, experience, advice, life lessons and confidence. Hold others accountable for their commitments.

In his book The Speed of Trust, author Stephen MR Covey discusses the value that comes from trusting others. Trust is the very basis of the new global economy, and he shows how trust—and the speed at which it is established with clients, employees and constituents—is the essential ingredient for successful people and organizations.

Chris Warner and Don Schmincke, the authors of the book High Altitude Leadership describe what happens when people do not work together. The act of placing a higher priority on one’s own desires or “needs” than on the desires and needs of other people defines the word ‘selfishness.’ Selfish behavior robs companies of profits, reduces job satisfaction and weakens organizations’ culture. Overcoming selfishness is critical to effective leadership. This is done by crafting a compelling saga — language and actions that inspire passion for a strategic result. The compelling saga drives performance, inspires value-based behavior and provides strategic focus.

Author and blogger Art Petty offers 8 suggestions to improve your team’s problem solving skills. Problem solving takes teamwork, and in the process, everyone involved grows and improves. Art writes: “The best learning opportunities in the workplace occur when individuals or teams come face to face with a vexing problem.  These situations provide outstanding growth opportunities and a great chance to generate and implement innovative and creative solutions.”

What examples have you seen where working together and helping others leads everyone involved to increased success?


The Product Management Perspective: Product managers rely on others to help them succeed. The most successful products and services come from organizations where teams collaborate effectively. Product managers are (or should be) the catalyst for this success.


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Moving forward

People go through many stages in their lives. Nobody is immune from difficulty. One of the key traits of great leaders is their ability to move forward despite the difficulties they face. Not only are they inspired to move forward themselves, but they also inspire others to advance with them.

Many methods exist to help people improve. Art Petty writes about the importance of creating a Personal Quality Program as a compelling way to make real progress in your business and personal life. In his post Art gives a brief history and definition of a Personal Quality Program and how it helps people become better individuals as well as leaders. After implementing this program, a group of MBA students came up with three conclusions, one of which resonates in this context:

Identify processes from your personal and professional life that you would like to improve.  These processes should be measurable and with purpose.  Process improvement should ultimately benefit you and/or your customer[s].  Focus on no more than 10 of these processes at a time.

The act of moving forward (progressing) requires action and effort. Putting together a plan — to help you progress to the next level — is a smart way to get started.


The Product Management Perspective: Product managers almost always have more work than hours in the day to do it all, yet the pressure to release quality, market-driven products on time never ceases. To ensure that you continually progress as a product manager — meeting both the needs of your company and your own personal growth objectives — you should create specific objectives, write them down and abide by them. Think of it as a roadmap for your career.

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