Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


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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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Why customer success matters

Think about a product you use regularly. Why do you use it? Why do you love it? What keeps you coming back?

When creating a product or service, you want your users and buyers to answer these questions with positive reactions. You hope they will get the full value of your offering and that they will have a positive experience as they use for their business. You want them to keep coming back for more.

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How to take a new offering to market

We live in a great time where, in most of the world, you can invent a new product or service and—with the appropriate up-front work—earn money from the value it creates for customers. This is remarkable!

Creating new products and services, however, takes a lot of thinking and hard work—especially in the technology space. Coming up with an initial idea is often the easiest part of the entire process. Forming the plan and doing the work just to get your offering ready to sell is where the big effort rests. How do you take a new product or service to market?

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Changing the game with decisive action

You have created the vision for your products; you’ve built trust among your teams; you’re working hard to motivate team members to do great things; and you’re working to develop your teams with insight and direction. The final step in my 5 Factors methodology is to act decisively. As the product leader you need to get things moving; you own the success of your products.

How will acting decisively change the game for your products?

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Developing team member skills

As you progress on the journey of building great teams, you create the vision, build a strong foundation of trust and motivate your team to reach beyond what they thought they were capable of doing. The next step is to work with your teams to develop their ability to work more effectively and hone their skills for the markets your products serve.

Why should you focus on developing your team?

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