Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


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An Effective Leader Leads by Influence, not Authority

Guest Post by Ken Sandy

The earliest mistakes you make in your career are often the most memorable and where you learn the most. In one of my first product management roles, I was delighted when a C-level executive tasked me to lead an important and urgent project and assemble a team for it.

I called a meeting together with people from the marketing, engineering, and design teams. I gave what I thought was a rousing speech, in which I asked that they drop whatever they were doing and commit themselves to this new project — it was of great importance to the c-suite, so it should be our top priority.


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Patience – A Leadership Principle

During the last few weeks and months so much has changed for all of us. With the recent pandemic we’ve seen many things change that we heretofore took for granted, things we’d become so accustomed to were transformed within days. It’s left us wondering how long it will take to get back to normal or ask whether ‘normal’ will ever be the same. It’s been a trial of endurance to say the least.

My intention is not to cover recent global events, but instead to focus on how we react to what’s happening in our lives; to take a deeper look at ways we can survive hardships and come out stronger as a result.

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The power of pause in leadership

The most effective leaders know there’s only one thing they have complete control over: “the way in which I respond and react to another human.” They know their success depends on the unity and determination of their team members. They also know the best work comes from individuals who are motivated and excited about the work they’re doing.

How do leaders improve the performance of their teams and create a culture of productivity?

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Why it’s important to think bigger, and play bigger

Creating great products and building successful companies takes a tremendous amount of work, insatiable initiative and a penchant for perseverance. It requires thinking differently than others think, and even differently than you have thought in the past.

To make big changes requires a whole new way of thinking, yet few college programs or study courses sow the seeds of innovation and creative thinking. You need to see the world differently, to think differently. To create winning products and companies you need to play bigger.

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Rules for amazing team formation

Guest post by Daniela McVicker

People make companies successful. Without effective team formation, a business can’t succeed. Carefully choosing and assigning roles and tasks is a crucial element in business management.

Building a strong team with a healthy work relationship is a demanding task. That is why carefully selected and strictly established rules can be life savers. These critical rules for team formation can help you create an amazing team.

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Three steps toward creating market-leading products

The goal of every company and product leader is to invent products (or services) that become recognized market leaders. Creating a new product category is icing on the cake, but also rare and extremely difficult.

We all know about companies and products like VMware, Google, and Uber that have not only developed cool products, but also fashioned new life-changing industries. Thinking about it from that perspective might cause us to shrink and say, “I could never do that.” However, there are many lesser-known companies and products that lead their markets; and done right, creating new markets and categories is well within our grasp.

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Leadership styles for directing small teams

Leadership differs depending on the size of the group you’re leading. For most product managers, the people they lead work on different teams and the individuals they need to influence don’t report to them. Regardless of whether the people you lead (or should be leading) report to you, the need to lead soundly is important.

Understanding more deeply your style of leadership will help you lead more effectively. The work will go better, and you’ll enjoy it more.

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Developing high-performance product teams

It’s difficult (if not impossible) to quantify what it takes to develop a productive and successful product team. Every product is unique, and every company does things differently. From a distance it may seem that there’s no process or methodology to create a high-performing product team.

Developing great products entails teams of people working together. With the proliferation of product roles in recent years it has become more important for product teams to function well together and collaborate effectively with other teams and individuals in the organization. Increased focus on building great teams is desperately needed in today’s fast-evolving technology world, yet for too many companies it’s not a high priority.

What does it take to develop a group of disparate individuals into a high-performing product team?

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Leading with love and trust

Leadership can be difficult to understand, to measure and to carry out, and too often the term ‘leader’ is used for someone who manages a group but doesn’t necessarily lead. Furthermore, what constitutes effective leadership differs greatly among cultures, industries and professions.

So how do you know if you are leading effectively?

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Bridging the leadership gap in innovation

Guest post by Jesse Nieminen

We’re living in an age where many industries are facing big changes. To thrive, or even survive, most companies need to find ways to innovate.

Yet, most companies fail to do that.

For example, according to McKinsey, more than 80% of executives think that their current business models are at risk and consider innovation to be very important for the future of their organization. However, only 6% of the said executives are actually satisfied with their innovation performance.

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