Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

The Energy Bus

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What does it take to run a successful organization?

There is obviously no one right answer to this question. However, positive thinking and energy are among the attributes featured in the book: The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy by Jon Gordon. The Energy Bus is a story (written in the style of other bestselling business fables) of George, who’s struggling at work and at home. His car breaks down, which forces him to ride the bus to work. He ends up on a bus with a driver named Joy. Joy is not the average bus driver; she helps her riders recognize and understand principles of success that affect every aspect of their lives.

The book presents principles, through George’s story, in an easy-to-understand format. The story has its banal moments, but it makes for an easy read, and more importantly provides a vehicle to deliver important principles in an understandable format. One of the key principles discussed is “contagious leadership.” When a person in a leadership role (or any role) exerts energy with the intent to motivate others, it’s contagious. To clarify this point the author gives five ways to “love your passengers” (or motivate the people you lead):

  • Make time for them
  • Listen to them
  • Recognize them
  • Serve them
  • Bring out the best in them.

The overall story of the energy bus is captured in the 10 rules for the ride of your life:

  1. You’re the driver of your bus.
  2. Desire, vision and focus move your bus in the right direction.
  3. Fuel your ride with positive energy.
  4. Invite people on your bus and share your vision for the road ahead.
  5. Don’t waste your energy on those who don’t get on your bus.
  6. Post a sign that says NO ENERGY VAMPIRES ALLOWED on your bus.
  7. Enthusiasm attracts more passengers and energizes them during the ride.
  8. Love your passengers.
  9. Drive with purpose.
  10. Have fun and enjoy the ride.

The book motivates its readers to focus on the positive, use the energy that comes from it to improve their production, and inspire others to do likewise.

The Product Management Perspective: Team energy is critical to the success of a product. When product managers focus on building up and inspiring their teams they will increase the energy that goes into all aspects of product development, and increase the likelihood for success.

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