Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Building your position

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I picked up the book The Sticking Point Solution: 9 Ways to Move Your Business From Stagnation to Stunning Growth In Tough Economic Times by Jay Abraham to give me something to read on a flight today. Given the book’s title I wasn’t sure what to expect (‘sticking point’ and ‘stagnation’ are not words I use very often). However, it didn’t take me long to realize this book has great content for taking yourself and your company to new levels of leadership.

I’ll do a full review when I finish, but for now I want to share Abraham’s fifteen ways to build your position into a strong brand. “These points are personality building blocks that will help you position yourself, your company, and/or your product as a preeminent persona in your marketplace.”

  1. Attach the suffix “In your service” to everything you do for your clients. You are their trusted advisor for life.
  2. Don’t be afraid to say what your competition won’t. In any transaction, tell your client, “Here’s what you’re not being told.”
  3. Don’t hesitate to extol your own achievements and value — but do it in the context of the benefit it brings to the client. Practice at it, do it with humility and humanity, and make it heartfelt and graceful, not overbearing.
  4. List your flaws. Your clients are human, and so are you. So acknowledge it. Doing so makes you real and honest in their eyes.
  5. Cultivate the habit of looking at each relationship as a long-term investment you’re making in the marketplace. It’s not a one night stand. It’s a total attitude shift.
  6. Know your strengths and weaknesses, and play to the former. The task is simple, but most people don’t do it; they get caught up trying to improve their weaknesses. No leverage there.
  7. Control your risk. But always point out the overlooked risks and dangers your marketplace is exposed to, and help your clients reduce or eliminate them.
  8. Use as much research and data as you can to make your point, prove your advantage, and demonstrate your performance. Just be sure to summarize, compare, interpret, and analyze this information so that people can appreciate and act on it.
  9. Challenge status quo thinking with a sharper, fresher perspective, a better strategy, or a clearer game plan for your market to follow.
  10. Continually add to your brand equity by doing more, caring more, contributing more.
  11. Form alliances and advisory boards.
  12. Use endorsements and testimonials properly and often. You can garner these from buyers, community influences, and press articles.
  13. Hire the best. Pay them richly. But pay them mostly on performance.
  14. If you’re invisible, you can’t become the go-to source. Make yourself, your product, or your company known. Do it impactfully. Do it with the right people. Make the impact worth the effort.
  15. Learn to project the image of true success — long before you’ve fully achieved it. It’s only a matter of time before it will occur.


The Product Management Perspective: Most of the fifteen points apply nicely to creating great products that people want to buy. Look through the list carefully and pick out three or four points where your products are the weakest. Make an effort in the next few weeks to improve in those areas. Over time, taking these specific steps will make your products preeminent in their marketplace.

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