Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

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Lead on Purpose featured

One of the benefits of blogging and other forms of on-line social interaction is that you meet a lot of great people that you normally would never bump into. I’ve benefited significantly from associations formed over the past three years. Another benefit is people find you. Many bloggers have featured the Lead on Purpose blog on their sites over the past three years; for this I am truly grateful.

In the spirit of thanking these friends and introducing my audience to their web sites, here are a few links to sites you should take a look at:

  • Leadership Digital: An aggregator of the best content on leadership and management. This site shares frequent updates on improving leadership throughout organizations. Lead on Purpose is slated to join their ranks shortly.
  • Rasmussen College: A college with the goal of helping students graduate with a degree, get a meaningful job and build a career. They have five campuses in the upper mid-west and Florida, and a major presence on-line. They featured Lead on Purpose among 20 blogs business management students will love.
  • Online Marketing Degrees: Provides information to people who are seeking a college degree in Marketing. They recently featured Lead on Purpose in their 2010 Top Management Blogs awards.
  • Online Schools: Another accredited college that offers degrees online. They featured Lead on Purpose as one of the top 50 Blogs for building strong leadership skills
  • Noop.nl: Run by Jurgen Appelo who is an author, speaker, writer, etc. He included Lead on Purpose in his Top 150 Management & Leadership Blogs post (this is chock-full of links to great leadership sites).

Thank you to all who have shared Lead on Purpose. But most importantly, thanks to all of you who read Lead on Purpose! I appreciate your support.

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Battle of the bloggers

Tomorrow I have the opportunity to speak at the AIPMM Battle of the Bloggers and tell the people why Lead On Purpose is the top product management blog. Given the level of competition among the participating bloggers and the many other great blogs “out there” it’s a daunting task to say the least. In preparing for my brief (~5 minute) speech I’ve come up with a few reasons why Lead On Purpose is important to the product management community:

  • Promoting leadership in product management: The blog was started with the intent to promote leadership practices that will help product managers work effectively with people: customers, partners and most especially, their co-workers on whom they depend for success.
  • On Purpose: Product managers have to be leaders (in the true sense of the word) because they have the responsibility on their shoulders to get products out the door on time, with high quality and under budget. BUT, they do not manage or have authority over the people they depend on for success. Therefore, they need to be leaders and do it on purpose.
  • Features of the blog: The success of Lead on Purpose comes from its focus on the need for strong leadership principles. The Product Management Perspective applies the leadership principles taught (in a given post) to product management. Guest bloggers have added tremendous value. I continue to learn from books I read and share that knowledge in book reviews. In January I started the PM Pulse, a separate blog where I post interviews with the thought leaders in product management and marketing.
  • Perl of wisdom: The thing that keeps me writing is a love for learning. My favorite quote on leadership is this from Eric Hoffer: “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future.  The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” The effort, time and money we spend on learning and filling our minds with new opportunities will benefit us exponentially.

Blogging can be a lonely proposition; you put yourself “out there” for the world to see and judge, never knowing for sure what people really think. But then you get that comment or link or direct message from a reader who appreciates what you’ve written – then it’s all worth it.

Thank you — readers of Lead On Purpose — you are the reason I write.


Lead On Purpose — first year

anniversary_1Lead On Purpose is one year old today. Yippee!

On December 2, 2007 I started the blog with a simple post inviting the world to participate in a discussion about developing and practicing leadership principles regardless of title (whether or not they have management responsibilities over other people). In the first few weeks and months things were pretty quiet; few readers, few comments. It was the “deafening silence” that David Meerman Scott writes about. Over time, however, things have picked up and the blog has gained increasing traffic.

People have many and varied reasons why they start blogging. My primary inspiration was Steve Johnson from Pragmatic Marketing. I ran into Steve at a conference, told him about some things I was working on, and he said I should write an article and get it published in The Pragmatic Marketer. I followed his advice and my first article was published in January. Thanks for the kick-start Steve!

Another person who’s had a major influence on my blogging during the past year is Dr. Paul. His blogs and podcast cover important topics that have influenced my writing and thinking significantly. And unlike most of the friends I’ve made in cyberspace, I live close to Dr. Paul and get the opportunity to see him often.

Many others have influenced the direction of this blog; far too many to call out on one post. (Take a look at the blog roll to get an idea of who some of the main contributors have been.) I want to give special thanks to the folks at Ryma Technology Solutions who not only recognized the value in my blog, but liked it (and me I suppose) enough to hire me as a product management consultant and let me do what I love every day. I can honestly say I get up every day excited to go to work.

Lessons learned: Here are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned in my first year of blogging:

  • Focus: Establish an overall theme for your blog and stick to it. For me it finally gelled as I started writing about principles of leadership and applying them to product management. I write about other topics such as team building, trust and learning. Though I do not always do it very eloquently, my goal is to tie each topicback to my overriding theme.
  • Write consistently: To feed the search engines and build an SEO presence, you have to write regularly. I have made it my goal to write at least two posts per week. I write more when I can.
  • Create value: This goes without saying…you need to create something of value for your readers. This is a tough one to judge accurately. Given that the viewership of Lead on Purpose has consistently risen, I think (hope) I can say I’m offering something of value.
  • Write for the reader: Ok, another obvious statement. You may have noticed that I seldom use first person when I write (this post is a specific exception; on purpose). This point became much more apparent in August when I was introduced to The Tuned In Calculator. That has helped me to write for the reader and not for myself.
  • Open up: Create Bio and About pages to let people know who you are and why you write. This idea causes discomfort for many; however, if your going to write you need to let people know who you are and what your purpose is for writing.
  • Have fun: Blogging should be fun. If it’s not, try something else. A good way to get a feel for whether you would enjoy writing your own blog is to read others’ blogs and leave comments. You can also write a guest post for a blog you follow. If you have an idea for a post on my blog, please contact me.

Many thanks to all of you who subscribe to Lead on Purpose, who read it off and on, or stumble upon it by accident. I am grateful for the support you give me and your interest in my writing. Your feedback creates much value for me; please continue to leave comments. Specifically (for this post) I’m interested to know what lessons you have learned from blogging and using other social media.

The Product Management Perspective: I offer my sincerest thanks to the product management community. You are among the smartest, most talented people in the world! I consider it an honor to be one among you and look forward to meeting you both in person and on-line. Please continue to participate in my blog and watch for me on Twitter (coming soon thanks to encouragement from Stewart Rogers and Gopal Shenoy ). More importantly, please let me know what I can do to help you. If you have a topic you want to discuss, please speak up. If you want to write a guest post, please let me know; I welcome the opportunity. The Product Management community is strong and growing, and together we will continue to improve.

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Why blog?

A few months ago I wrote a post I wrote about the reason I write my blog. I concluded that the reason (if there’s only one) is because it forces me to learn; to dig into books and magazines, to read other blogs and to find out where the things I value in the world are headed. I read a great post today where Gopal discusses his reasons and recommendations for blogging. He does a nice job of expanding upon the reasons he writes, all of which I can identify with, especially his third reason:

Write about something I am very passionate about – product management – Identifying market problems, solving them and shipping products that solve them is what I enjoy the most at work.

If you’ve ever thought about starting a blog, take a minute and read Gopal’s recommendations for new bloggers; it’s well worth the time.

For those of you who are experienced bloggers, why do you write?