Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

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Transparency – All Cards Face-Up

Guest post by Paul Sean Hill

Creating and leading high-performing teams in any setting requires a high-trust environment.  A critical component in creating and keeping that trust is complete transparency across the team.  Having seen the empowering effect of this simple notion, I regularly reminded my direct-reports that the expectation was, “All cards are face-up on the table for the full team, in every decision and on every topic.”

I first learned the value of this kind of full transparency during my years working in the Mission Control Room while operating Space Shuttles and the International Space Station.  Everyone on the team reviewed every report, procedure, and mission-related communication of any kind between Mission Control and the astronauts.

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How to create successful Change Leadership

Guest post by Braden Kelley

Change efforts are an expedition, a sometimes perilous journey that must be collaborative. And in our ‘always-on’ society, where the pace of change has accelerated to a point where we as humans can barely cope, our old metaphors of burning platforms and melting icebergs are becoming irrelevant. Change is becoming a constant.


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Understand your role

The importance of understanding your role in an organization cannot be overemphasized. When people work together — each person contributing to their area of expertise — great things happen.

What can you — the leader — do to help people in your organization understand their roles and execute effectively? Bob Seelert, chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, launched an internal program called “Breakfast with Bob” where he had breakfast with nearly every employee in the company (400 people), seven at a time. He did this twice a week and met with nearly everyone in 29 weeks.

Bob shared the following wisdom gained through this activity: “Every person in your organization is important to its success. When you’re the leader, spend quality time with your people to stay connected.” The leader must know his or her role and help other people understand and carry out their roles.

The Product Management Perspective: The specific duties of product managers may vary from one company to the next. However, the primary responsibility is the same: release successful products for your company. As a product manager you need work effectively with other teams and lead them to create successful products. Take the time to understand your colleagues and build relationships of trust with them. Clearly understanding your role will help everyone.