Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

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How to shift the competition

Successful business leaders thrive on competition. They’re at their best when contending for the top customers in high-end markets. They may feel that if they’re not in the middle of a cut-throat battle with competitors, they must not be succeeding.

Do these statements represent your approach to business? While much as been written about competition and businesses that have been highly competitive and won, in reality, some of the most successful companies have won using very different techniques. They have changed the way they do business. They have made a shift to the blue ocean.

Blue Ocean Shift-calm Continue reading

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3 Steps to Reach for Your Next Milestone

Guest post by Bob Pritchett, President/CEO of Faithlife Corporation

 Has anyone ever told you that you have permission to do something incredible? You can have the life you’ve always wanted. And, you can start right now.

If you’re ready to reach for your next milestone, follow these three simple steps to keep moving forward. Continue reading


Enduring success

One of the key traits of great leaders is their ability to move forward despite the difficulties they face. They not only find ways for their own progress, but also find ways to help others along the way.Enduring success happens over time, bit by bit, day by day. The true definition of success is duration. Finding the will and the inner strength to keep going is crucial to progress. The following actions provide focus on long-term goals:

Take initiative: Volunteer for new assignments that no one wants to do. Don’t be afraid to do work that seems beneath. Taking initiative lays a strong foundation for success.

Work hard: Perseverance is the key to moving forward.  Those who keep working — despite trials, difficulties and stress — eventually achieve what they’re working towards.  As Abraham Lincoln once said: “Things may come to those who wait, but only what’s left behind by those that hustle.” Work hard and create your own opportunities.

Create success: Determine what success means to you and go for it. Be a learner, be inquisitive, find new ways to solve problems. Here’s a great three minute video by motivational speaker Earl Nightingale that describes why people succeed.

Iterate: No matter how much initiative we take or how hard we work, difficulties will arise. Don’t stop, don’t get discouraged. Reset and keep moving forward.

The Product Management Perspective: Product managers almost always have more work than hours in the day to do it all, yet the pressure to release quality, market-driven products on time never ceases. To have enduring success as a product manager, incorporate the actions mentioned above to drive your product direction.


The essence of leadership

Here’s a fitting leadership quote for uncertain times:

”All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common; it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”

– John Kenneth Galbraith

The Product Management Perspective: Look for opportunities to ease the concerns and anxiety of the people you work with. You may not be their boss, but because you are the product manager, people on other teams look to you for not only direction, but also assurance that things will be okay. They need to know the company will get through these difficult times and their product(s) will succeed. You can give them that confidence; take the initiative.

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How to get along

There seem to be a lot of stories flying around the media about people bickering, fighting or otherwise not getting along with each other. While such situations might help spark a political campaign, they do nothing for people trying to progress and become more successful. It’s especially important learn how to get along with your boss and co-workers. On his Great Leadership blog, Dan McCarthy writes about 10 ways to get off on the right foot with your new manager. He makes the assumption that the new manager is a good, competent leader and not a jerk. Here’s the list of ten (without detail; check out Dan’s post for the meat):

  1. Be good (both doing good things and good at what you do)
  2. Be proactive about introducing yourself
  3. Exhibit behaviors that are appreciated (enthusiasm, optimism, curiosity, initiative, and good judgement)
  4. Clarify expectations up front
  5. Help your new manager learn
  6. Try to minimize how many times you say “we tried that before and it didn’t work”
  7. Be VERY open to change
  8. Learn about your new manager
  9. Watch your manager’s back
  10. However….. don’t be a blatant suck-up.

Working for a new manager/boss/leader provides a great opportunity to shine, to model things (including your career) the way you’ve always wanted them to go. Take the opportunity to form new relationships and make most out of new circumstances.

The Product Management Perspective: Dan’s advice is significant for product managers. They not only have to manage up to their boss, but also horizontally, with managers of other teams on whom they depend for success. The ten steps listed above work equally well in both cases.