Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


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Winners Never Cheat

The first time I remember hearing the name Jon M. Huntsman was when I was a boy and he was talking with my father about leasing some land in the mountains of northern Utah. The deal never went through (I never did find out why), but Mr. Huntsman has sent my father a Christmas card every year since that time.

In his book Winners Never Cheat: Everyday Values We Learned as Children (But May Have Forgotten), Jon M. Huntsman writes about principles that build common people into leaders. The following are some of the values discussed in his book:

  • There are no moral shortcuts in the game of businessWinners Never Cheat
  • Attributes of true leaders include integrity, courage, vision, commitment, empathy, humility and confidence; the greater these attributes the stronger the leadership
  • Leadership is a privilege
  • Leadership is dictated by moral decisions; north is always north; south is always south
  • When a handshake is given, it must be honored—at all costs; your word is your greatest asset; honesty is your best virtue
  • In every walk of life we must believe we can succeed, or by definition we already have failed
  • It is courage, and not the title, that separates genuine leaders from the pretenders
  • Get mad, not even
  • Everyone wants to be valued, to know they count
  • Two rules in the Huntsman family: 1) Check your ego at the door. 2) Be a cheerleader for each other
  • All companies—public or private—must create a culture in which employees come first and are treated royally…they always return the favor
  • Giving enriches one’s heart and soul—and it’s contagious
  • Make the underpinnings of your life a string of f-words (at least, phonetically): family, faith, fortitude, fairness, fidelity, friendship and philanthropy

Mr. Huntsman demonstrates how living by these values lifts people to a higher level. As we help others and lift them up, we are lifted up in the process. His book inspires me to be a better man and a better leader. And while it’s obvious that Jon Huntsman’s life has been built around the principles he promotes in his book, he does it in a way that is not self-serving or arrogant. His book is great in so many ways.

What are your thoughts about this book? What other books have you read that teach principles of leadership? I’d appreciate you leaving a comment!


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Live on purpose

One of the keys to effective leadership is being well-grounded in your personal life. A good friend of mine – Dr. Paul Jenkins (“Dr. Paul”) – has provided (and continues to provide) excellent life coaching. His work inspired me to write an article about effective leadership in product management that I titled “Lead on Purpose: How product managers lead teams to success” (it will be published in The Pragmatic Marketer in January 2008).

Dr. Paul does a weekly podcast you can access from Live on Purpose Radio, from his web site or on iTunes. His podcasts are inspiring and have helped me in many ways. I even recorded one with him; it’s called The Family Toolbox: