Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

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Great ideas

The Leadership and Success section of Investors Business Daily provides an excellent source of ideas and information for leaders. One of its highlights is the IBD’s 10 Secrets to Success section, a short article about one of  ten traits they have identified in successful people from all walks of life.

In today’s edition of IBD, Adelia Cellini Linecker writes about what it takes to make great ideas happen (the full article is available on Yahoo! Finance). “Great business ideas are seldom hatched in a boardroom. Blockbuster products are born when you hit the pavement and see firsthand what people need and want.” The ideas for this article come from the book Tuned In. Adelia identifies six actions to help you get tuned in to what people want:

  • Find openings
  • Study
  • Understand buyers
  • Create experiences
  • Communicate
  • Connect.

Phil Myers, co-author of Tuned In, stresses the need to to find market problems first, then decide which solutions customers will pay for. This approach leads to success. He says: “Be consistent about observing what’s going on in the marketplace; talk to people who may … have an inkling that they can be your customer.” Find a way to solve their problems and they will gladly pay you for it.

The Product Management Perspective: Great ideas, that turn into great products and even businesses, come from a deep understanding of the market. Product managers play a strategic role in identifying market needs and developing the ideas into product definitions. Working with their teams, they create products that people will gladly pay money to have.

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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.