Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

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Flexibility and letting go

For the past several months I’ve been immersed in the experience of working with top designers and learning how to take their work, write relevant requirements at breakneck speed and work closely with development to build our new products. We’re essentially changing the focus of the product from enterprise to consumer. Talk about a learning experience! It’s been nothing short of transformational.

The key for me has been a willingness to let go of past working habits — procedures I was very comfortable with — and embrace new ideas. One quick example: my main product serves a two-sided network. Four months ago, the “customer” (in my mind) was the paying/enterprise customer. Today that view has completely changed. Now the ‘customer’ is the end user (sometimes called ‘consumer’) who comes to the web site to use the free service. My product management focus has shifted significantly to the experience of the end users. The change has resulted in an entirely different product that (two weeks into the beta) is showing positive signs.

Letting go of old habits and ideas is not easy and requires flexibility. Those who are open to change learn to trust themselves and others. Watch for opportunities to try new things and be flexible as you go. Letting go of old beliefs can lead to new visions.

The Product Management Perspective: See above (and, of course, don’t get set in your ways or the change will be painful).

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Realities of change

I’m out camping in the mountains this week, far away from the connected world, so I “pre-loaded” my blogging gun with a link to a great post.

Today’s link comes from Mark Sanborn. Change is a constant part of growing, whether it be personal growth or growing an organization. In his post The Realities of Change, Mark presents ten truths to help you progress in your career.


The pace of change

Thanks to Dan for pointing me to this video about the fast pace of change. It takes about 5 minutes and will cause you to think differently about the world we live in. Hold on tight and pay attention!

The Product Management Perspective: The world of product management is changing too. Just when you think you understand a market or a product or a buyer persona, you blink and it changes. Product managers need to be engaged in learning. Keep learning; be happy for the things you have learned; don’t beat yourself up for the things you don’t know.

Take to heart the advice of 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.”