Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


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The determination to do

One of the interesting things I’ve found about life—all aspects of life—is that it keeps moving forward, it keeps changing. Every day brings something new, something different.

When you get past the fear that holds you back and find the courage to move forward, the work is not done. You must keep moving forward. To get where you want to go, you need to have the determination to do.

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Persistence and leadership

Great leaders are persistent. They persevere through trials and develop the ability to weather tough storms. Calvin Coolidge, 30th US President, said:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Persistence is a key characteristic of great leaders. Gaining it requires determination; a mindset that no matter what you will stick to your principles and goals. Achieving success requires hard work and a mindset to move forward regardless of the obstacles.

Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) articulates it powerfully in its IBD’s 10 Secrets to Success: “Be persistent and work hard. Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up.”


The Product Management Perspective: The importance of persistence in creating great products cannot be overstated. Things do not always go as planned. Great product managers learn from past mistakes and continue to press forward regardless of the obstacles they face. Product success does not come overnight, but instead comes over time, though consistent application of sound principles.


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The power of persistence

Great leaders are tested and tried in many ways. They persevere through trials and develop the ability to weather tough storms. Calvin Coolidge, 30th US President, summed it up nicely:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Success comes from developing and perfecting persistence and determination.

As a side note, I found an interesting (and somewhat related) article contrasting two of pro basketball’s biggest stars: Kobe vs. Lebron: how leadership trumps likeability. It brings out the importance of persistence in leading teams as a player.


The Product Management Perspective: The importance of persistence in creating great products cannot be overstated. Things do not always go as planned. Great product managers learn from past mistakes and continue to press forward regardless of the obstacles they face. Product success does not come overnight, but instead comes over time, though consistent application of sound principles.


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Persistence: key to success

Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) provides an excellent source or information. It covers stock markets, mutual funds, commodities and investing in general, as well as important industry topics and current issues in government and society (both nationally and internationally). However, IBD’s most engaging section to me is Leadership & Success (L&S). This section first attracted me to IBD and has held my attention for years.

Each day in the L&S section you will find 10 Secrets To Success. The fifth secret highlights the need to be persistent and work hard: “success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up” it states.

Persistence is one of the key characteristics of great leaders. Gaining it requires determination, a mindset that — no matter what happens — you will stick to your principles and goals. Persistence in leadership can be compared to running a marathon. To run a successful marathon you have to spend ample time (months) preparing. The time you spend, and what you do leading up to the race, will determine how well you perform during the race. And given the length of a marathon (26.2 miles, 42 kilometers), persistence is absolutely necessary to finishing the race.

Where running marathons is concerned, however, real success comes not from preparing and running single marathon, but from continued training, learning and determination. It’s the continuation of marathons that becomes the marathon.

Achieving success requires a continuation of effort. Mark Sanborn calls this Staying Power. When you face a big project, you spend time preparing and then exert increased effort to finish on time and with high quality. When you finish you do not pat yourself on the back as if you have “arrived” but you look forward to the next opportunity. You may (and should) take time to celebrate after completing a successful project, but the next day you get up and go back to ‘training’ for the next big project, just like you would train for the next race. It’s the continuation of successes that becomes the success.

Success is the journey, not the destination.


The Product Management Perspective: Persistence is a requirement for product managers. Obtaining the right inputs, understanding the market problems, determining the best way your product will solve those problems, creating requirements and defining releases (among other things) requires tremendous persistence. You do it, and then you do it again. Keep moving forward, be persistent, and while you’re at it, enjoy the journey!


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Success is a marathon

This morning while reading IBD, a favorite source of information, I reread the 10 Secrets To Success (they print the ten traits and highlight one each day). The fifth secret highlights the need to be persistent and work hard; “success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up” it states.

Persistence is one of the key characteristics of great leaders. Gaining it requires determination; a mindset that no matter what you will stick to your principles and goals. Having run three marathons I have found that the key is preparation; it’s what you do leading up to the race that determines how well it goes. It’s the consistent and persistent training that determines how well you run a marathon. Where running marathons is concerned, however, real success comes not from preparing and running ‘a’ marathon, but from continued training, learning and determination. It’s the continuation of marathons that becomes the marathon.

Achieving success requires a continuation of effort. We all experience ‘marathons’ along the way to success where we exert increased effort to finish a big project; we do not pat ourselves on the back because we have arrived. We may (and should) take time to celebrate after achieving successes on projects, but the next day we get up and go back to ‘training’ for the next project big project, just like we would train for the next race. It’s the continuation of successes that becomes the success.

Success is the journey, not the destination.