Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


Fixing the diffusion-poor company

Diffusion-poor companies have a difficult time monetizing good ideas. They often suffer from the “not invented here” thinking. As a result, new products and services are not properly rolled out to the market. In decentralized organizations, managers are often given a fair amount of autonomy, which gives them the ability to stop new ideas from other parts of the company from “taking the time” or “disrupting” their teams. In cases where managers do not necessarily have the ability to say no to new ideas, they can still sabotageprojects they don’t believe in. These practices halt or slow down the diffusion of products and services to the market.

Companies that have a difficult time getting traction for their new ideas need to find a catalyst. The authors of The Innovation Value Chain recommend promoting an “idea evangelist”–someone who preaches the good word about an emerging product or business. They use their deep personal networks to increase awareness internally and promote ideas to customers and others in the market. They reach out through phone calls, emails and socialnetworking to increase awareness.

Ultimately, a company’s ability to recognize market problems, create business opportunities and produce winning products and services depends on its people. When leaders create a culture that gives their people opportunities to grow, innovation–and ultimately success–will happen naturally.

For more information on this topic, see Leadership and innovation and Identifying the weak link in product innovation.

The Product Management Perspective: In most companies, product managers are the catalysts that promote forward-thinking ideas and bring their products to market. Because they work with people from other groups and divisions in their companies, they often act in the role of “idea evangelist” for their products and services. Product managers that take the initiative to lead on purpose become the “go-to” people in their companies and find great fulfillment in their work.