Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


Leave a comment

The Relationship Between Positivity and Productivity (And How to Make It Work for You)

Guest post by Annabelle Smyth

Many companies still hold tight to the old way of doing things.

They put you in high-pressure situations and hope that you get all your work done out of fear. Fear that you will miss out on that promotion, fear that you will be subject to disciplinary action and even fear that you will lose your job.

Positivity Continue reading


2 Comments

Are you an extreme leader?

“Extreme would not be extreme without fear. And fear would not be worth it without the love of the game.”

Are you an extreme leader? According to Steve Farber, author and business leadership expert, extreme leaders “approach the act of leadership as you’d approach an extreme sport: learn to love the fear and exhilaration that naturally comes with the territory.” To become an extreme leader you need to seek opportunities that will stretch you and ultimately cause fear. The fear defines the experiences that lead to extreme leadership.

To create the experiences that will strengthen your leadership, Farber recommend you take a Radical LEAP every day. LEAP is an acronym for the following: Continue reading


2 Comments

Five factors to inspiring team members

We all know people who inspire us, who encourage us—through their actions and example—to work hard, to persevere through difficult circumstances. What’s their secret? How do they persuade others to do great things? While every circumstance is different, leaders find ways to inspire the people they lead.

Here are five factors[1] that, if understood and applied, will increase your ability to inspire your team members: […]


2 Comments

Are You an Effective Business Leader?

Guest post by Mike Gardener

With the economic climate as tough as it currently is, leadership qualities are the main cornerstones of success when it comes to virtually all kinds of businesses. But what are the most important qualities when it comes to effective business leadership? And what are the essential characteristics of leaders that can inspire others to succeed in challenges that would otherwise seem impossible?

Good Judgment

First of all, every business leader that wants to be successful in his or her field needs to know the field inside out and understand even the smallest details, which are sometimes the most important factors in business projects. With good judgment, business leaders will be able to delegate all the task properly and to the right workers, meaning that everything will be done as efficiently as possible and without any wasted time or resources. To find out more about the topic, read this HBR article.

Dedication

Second is the dedication factor. It is of the utmost importance that the person who wants to lead is also the person that is the most dedicated to the goal at hand. Without dedication, there is no chance of having the entire team come together and remain inspired to do well. Success might come nonetheless, but it will be completely random and it will depend on many unrelated factors.

Responsibility

To make things even more complicated, all business leaders that have ambitions to succeed in their fields need to be able to take responsibility for their decisions and actions. That might seem like a very straightforward thing to do, but it often turns out to be one of the issues that many simply cannot overcome. The thing is that it is usually very easy to take responsibility whenever things are going according to the plan. Accepting responsibility for failures, however, is a much more difficult thing to do. Nevertheless, it is also one of the most essential challenges that business leaders need to face (and professional responsibility is obviously not the only thing to care about, social responsibility is yet another thing that has to be accepted). Honesty and willingness to accept defeats can go a long way – and, together, they can help leaders turn a bunch of skilled workers into a true team.

Creativity

Finally, leaders that want to succeed also need to be creative to overcome all the difficulties that might arise at any given moment. Original plans are worth sticking to and they will work in the majority of cases – but, from time to time, it is also quite important to innovate and change strategies at a moment’s notice. And that is when creativity will be crucial to the overall chances of succeeding. Successful business leaders will recognize those occasions and won’t be afraid to change strategies in order to find a way around the obstacles that might be found along the way. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is also possible to find schools that emphasize creativity in business leadership.

Uniting Through a Vision

There is, however, a bottom line to all these things. Namely, there is one ability that every effective business leader simply has to have – the ability to unite everything under one clear vision. You might be a leader that knows his or her business field inside out and still remain relatively unsuccessful if you are unable to present a vision that others could follow and a goal that others could strive for. The fact that the most successful business leaders (check this list for a good idea about how visions and businesses are related to each other) are also often regarded as true visionaries is definitely not accidental. The very opposite of that is true – it shows exactly what are the most important qualities when it comes to business leadership.

Mike Gardener is one of the owners of TheOfficeProviders.com , a company that provides office space for all kinds of businesses. Visit their website in order to find a suitable office space for your own business or just to learn more about the company itself.


2 Comments

Self leadership

Amidst all the talk of leadership and leading others, the importance of self leadership is often forgotten or downplayed. ‘Self leadership’ connotes attitudes and behaviors that lead individuals to a happier, more productive life. During difficult times, when you are stressed by world news, the economy, work or the lack thereof, the human tendency is to grasp for anything that will pull you up. The key to surviving and thriving through difficult times is self leadership. The following actions positively effect progress towards self leadership:

  • Give service: The best way to help yourself is to help others. Whenever you lend a hand to someone else you inevitably help yourslf. This works not only in your neighborhood, but also in cyberspace. Jim Connolly validates this principle in a recent post about three of the biggest names in blogging. He says the key to their success “is all about one word, contribution.” When you willingly give of yourself, without expecting something in return, great things will happen.
  • Be creative: Synonyms such as inspired, resourceful and productive describe the actions of creativity. Even in the worst of times you can always find ways to be creative, and that outlook will help see the world in a different, more positive light. Take action, but before you do pause and envision how your creativity will make a difference, then be creative on purpose.
  • Solve problems: Look for solutions, not excuses. Problems abound, which means opportunities for solutions are abundant. When faced with problems, don’t limit yourself to obvious solutions. Seth Godin illustrates this point beautifully in a recent post where he tells how the telephone destroyed the telegraph. Speaking of the people that developed the telephone he said, “they solved a different problem, in such an overwhelmingly useful way that they eliminated the feature set of the competition.”
  • Think positive thoughts: In all situations, every time, the optimistic approach will benefit you. Things will not always work the way you want, but by viewing them through a ‘positive lens’ you will always end up better off.
  • Be confidently humble: The words ‘confident’ and ‘humble’ are rarely used together. Confidence is often associated with arrogance, and humility with weakness. However, the positive behaviors associated with each, in combination, lead to powerful results. Rather than thinking of confidence as arrogance, think instead about words like self-assured, certain and secure. You know where you’re headed and you know you will get there. Rather than with weakness, associate humility with self-effacing, unassuming behavior. Give others credit. Inspire others through your willingness to build them up.

Pushing forward through tough times can seem anywhere from difficult to impossible. Instead of wringing your hands and spending energy worrying, take steps toward self leadership and you’ll be amazed where you end up.


The Product Management Perspective: To lead people on teams over which you have no authority requires a special kind of leadership. As a product manager, your ability to create great products will, to a large degree, depend on your ability to inspire others and gain their trust. Your ability to do this will be greatly enhanced through actions that inspire self leadership.


5 Comments

Book review: Killing Sacred Cows

Killing Sacred Cows

Killing Sacred Cows

Without writing anything else about this book, the title should at least have your attention. The disclaimer on the first page reads: “No actual cows were killed or harmed during the creation of this book.” The purpose of this book is to help you take a deeper look at the beliefs to which you’ve subscribed and determine which ones are true and which should be thrown out. The expressed purpose of this book is: “to defeat myths about money and prosperity that are severely limiting human power, creativity and production.”

Killing Sacred Cows was written by Garrett B. Gunderson and is now a New York Times Best Seller. Gunderson discusses nine “myths” that have “crippled our nation for generations:”

Myth 1-The Finite Pie: He describes the commonly held view that the world has limited resources. If you want something you need to take it from someone else. In reality, he says, there’s enough for everyone, and the more people work the bigger the pie gets; there will be more for everyone.

Myth 2-You’re in it for the Long Haul: Gunderson addresses what he calls “the 401(k) hoax” proposition. Most people look at the wealth they are accumulating to use “some day” and most people are afraid to use it even after they retire. He says that cash flow is a better measure of net worth. This topic gets quite deep and controversial; it will make you think.

Myth 3-It’s All About the Numbers: He claims most people think wealth is all about their bank balances and investments. Wealth is really about doing what you enjoy.

Myth 4-Financial Security: Gunderson says that most people think financial security comes from a paycheck and benefits. In reality, he says, true security can only come from within.

Myth 5-Money is Power: Many people think that the more money they have the more powerful they become. This myth is destructive because it’s not about the money itself, but the value it represents. People who put more value on the money itself than the people who create the value will self destruct.

Myth 6-High Risks = High Returns: Garrett says that believing high returns can only come from taking risks is a myth. He describes the importance of investing according to your Soul Purpose, which will provide lower risks and higher returns. He emphasizes the importance of investing in ourselves.

Myth 7-Self-Insurance: Most “experts” on insurance tell you to spend as little as possible on insurance. Gunderson recommends getting as much insurance as possible.

Myth 8-Avoid Debt Like the Plague: Most people are taught to avoid debt. Gunderson distinguishes between debt and liabilities, and good vs. bad liabilities. If you borrow in the right way and for the right things you create tools that will help you prosper.

Myth 9-A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned: The myth here boils down to spending money for value. If you skimp on quality to get a better price you end up paying more. When you spend money on products and services you are actually voting for them. You should buy the things that based on their value, not their cost.

One of the great things about his book is it’s chock full of quotes. Some of the quotes are used to illustrate specific myths and how they are perpetuated over time. Many others add credibility to the author’s assertions. Together with the quotes and anecdotes, the pithy ideas presented offer a soul-searching re-examination of why you do what you do. You will take a hard look at your behaviors and tendencies, and will likely make important changes as a result.


The Product Management Perspective: Product managers do not typically deal with financial matters in their company; however, the ideas promoted in this book apply nicely. Product managers need to regularly review how things are going and make changes. What are some of the “sacred cows” we worship in product management that we might need to kill?