Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


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Building a Culture of Accountability

Guest post by Fred Halstead

 Accountability can be thought of as a punitive word with an implied threat-as in “I’m going to hold you accountable.” Yet, when you think about holding someone accountability, it is actually a measure of your respect for them and the high expectations you have for them.

Throughout the past 38 years, first as an executive search consultant and then as an executive coach, I had the opportunity to work with hundreds of executives. During those years, I began to see what leaders do that leads to accountable cultures. Consistently holding your people accountable is indeed a sign of respect. People who are respected, respond by respecting the person respecting them.

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How to lead with commitment

I recently became aware of a CEO who believes he’s a great leader. He’s smart with a solid educational background, and he has the charisma to do great things. However, most of the people in his organization don’t see him as a leader.

You might wonder what he’s lacking. Based on what my friend (who works for him) tells me, he’s not committed to the success of the people in his organization. He storms into meetings and makes statements about how bad things are and that they need to change. In a recent meeting, he came in unannounced and started telling the people in the room what their job titles would be changing to. He then looked at my friend and said, “I’m not sure what your title’s going to be.”

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How do you define your purpose?

Among the most important discoveries you will make in your life is finding your purpose—the reason for your being, the core principles you espouse, the intent for which you get out of bed every day.

Thinking about the life before you is one of the most important things you can do. Defining your purpose and planning for the future is key to your success. You need to articulate the purpose in your life.

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The 3 C’s for success

Success is a clear, yet complex word that means different things for different people. The measurements vary, the approaches to achieving change and the commitment to achieving fluctuate over time.

In recent study and pondering, three words came to mind that alliterate basic, core actions that will increase success and lead us to better places in our careers and our lives.

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Why [brief]? Communicate with power

We live in a fast-paced world. We never have enough time to complete the agenda. The more we accomplish, the more the work seems to pile up. It gets overwhelming.

How do you deal with mounting stress? How do you keep your wits about you when the pressure to deliver intensifies? One method is to be brief in your communication.

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3 strategies to lead when you can’t mandate

Most organizations are made up of teams that work together to accomplish a common objective. Within those teams are individuals who are responsible for specific tasks. The combination of those tasks create the desired outcome. What is the secret to influencing others to work together effectively?

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The executive leader of the FUTURE: Trusted Steward

Guest post by John Blakey

Stewards inspire trust by re-defining the purpose of business to deliver in a new way—triple bottom-line goals—and then putting themselves and the organization in service of those goals.

The triple bottom-line creates a vacancy for a different type of executive leader. Tomorrow’s executive leader will not be yesterday’s manager, driven by one dominant owner, to produce one measure of success. In contrast, tomorrow’s executive leader will balance the diverse and dynamic expectations of stakeholders. She or he will be a steward.

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Getting the Results You Want – 7 Things to Consider

Guest post by Paul Axtell

One of the toughest jobs in the universe is to be a product or project leader with people who do not work directly or exclusively for you. Every team leader has faced these two questions at some point on every project:

How can I get people to take on work and deliver when they don’t report to me?

People are on multiple teams. Is it really fair of me to ask them to take on a lot of work?

Here are seven points that may be useful to you in finding approaches that work: Continue reading


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It’s the people

Everybody knows it, and yet too many executives, VPs, managers or other so-called “leaders” seem to forget: it’s the people that make the organization successful. It’s too easy to focus on the products or the projects and lose track of the people who are doing the work. Here are three quick tests you can take to determine whether, for you as a leader, it’s really about your people:

  • Commitment to the organization: Why do your team members work for your organization? Do they believe your vision? Do you inspire them? Are they sticking around only because the economy’s tough and they’re scared to look for another job? If they had a choice, would they work for you?
  • Career goals: What goals are your team members working towards in their current position? What drives them? Why do they get up every morning and come to work for you?  What are their career aspirations? What are you doing to help them advance? (Hint: if the answer is “nothing” they won’t stay with you long.)
  • Personal life: What do your team members like to do in their spare time? Where do they hang out? What are their hobbies? Are they married? How many kids do they have? And maybe the most important question…does their spouse like you?

If you can answer all of these questions (without having to ask), you care about your people. If not…you have some work to do. Your next presentation to the CEO isn’t nearly as important as the next meeting with your team.


The Product Management Perspective: Though it’s a bit different for product managers (because they don’t “manage” people), it’s still important to get to know the team members. The better you know them the more effective you will be at inspiring them to do great things. If they know you care they will definitely go out of their way to make you successful.