Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

The right people

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One of the common threads throughout Lead on Purpose is that people are assets. Their skills, knowledge, intellect, character and integrity provide the primary value to their company. Every positive outcome that transpires in any organization is a result of efforts of the people therein. Technology and automation certainly improve the work people do; however, no tools or equipment will ever replace the people in a successful organization.

Recently I decided to re-read (actually listened to) to the classic business book Good To Great by Jim Collins where he discusses, among other things, the value of people. Collins makes an important distinction with regard to the people in an organization: you need to get the right people. He discusses five levels of leadership, focusing specifically on Level 5 Leadership and the value it brings to companies. All of the good-to-great companies had Level 5 leaders who focused on getting the right people into the company (“on the bus”) and into the right positions on the team (“right seat on the bus”). Collins identifies three practical disciplines for hiring the right people in your organization:

  1. When in doubt, don’t hire—keep looking
  2. When you know you need to make a people change, act
  3. Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems.

Hiring the right people into key positions in your company not only improves the value of the outcome in in those areas, but it also provides leverage to hire additional “right” people; this because successful people generally like to associate with other successful people. The decisions your organization makes about the people it hires will undoubtedly be among the most important.


The Product Management Perspective: The role of product management is a key role in every organization. If you have responsibility for hiring product management or product marketing professionals, take the time to find the right people. Be rigorous in your search and interview processes and put your best PMs on your biggest opportunities.

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