Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Exercising enthusiasm


People feed off the enthusiasm of those around them. Leaders who love what they do and show it by their expressions, actions and tone, endear themselves to those around them. Seth Godin is spot on in his recent post about why this is not the time to ask for money. He says: “Attention can be worth more than money. Enthusiasm is priceless.”

Exercising enthusiasm takes hard work. Vince Lombardi said it well: “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” Enthusiasm leads to success only after a lot of hard work and persistence. The news is largely negative these days, but don’t let that stop you from being happy about the good things in life, or passionate about your favorite team, or excited about the successes of your family and friends. When times are tough, look for the positives and focus on helping others see them. Others will come to you for advice and look to you for leadership.

The Product Management Perspective: Product managers need to find ways to motivate the teams they work with. Lead on Purpose is all about finding ways to lead and inspire other people — over whom you have little or no managerial authority — to do things better and faster than they thought possible. The ‘rah-rah’ cheer leading approach will not fly, but the focus and work will. Remember Lombardi’s quote.

2 thoughts on “Exercising enthusiasm

  1. Great point, Michael!

    That’s exactly what I was going after in my article on getting the implementation team to collaborate on the prioritization of sprints in agile development. [http://tynerblain.com/blog/2008/10/20/planning-sprints-part-2/] Instead of saying “that feature you really like is not valuable enough to do”, say “come up with a way to make your favorite feature cheaper/easier to do, and you’ll be able to implement it earlier than these other features.”

    My goal is to engage and motivate the implementation team, giving them ownership of the product (direction) explicitly – where they already have it implicitly.

    This turns a “darn, I have to do this other stuff” demotivator into a “cool, all I have to do is design something better – I can totally do that” mindset.

    Just an anecdotal example that supports your broader point. Thanks again, and congrats on your alltop placement!

  2. Scott, thanks for the comment. That’s a great example of creating situations that motivate others to want to do what you want them to do. More work always gets done when people choose to do it (as opposed to being told to do it). -Michael

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