Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

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Lead on Purpose featured

One of the benefits of blogging and other forms of on-line social interaction is that you meet a lot of great people that you normally would never bump into. I’ve benefited significantly from associations formed over the past three years. Another benefit is people find you. Many bloggers have featured the Lead on Purpose blog on their sites over the past three years; for this I am truly grateful.

In the spirit of thanking these friends and introducing my audience to their web sites, here are a few links to sites you should take a look at:

  • Leadership Digital: An aggregator of the best content on leadership and management. This site shares frequent updates on improving leadership throughout organizations. Lead on Purpose is slated to join their ranks shortly.
  • Rasmussen College: A college with the goal of helping students graduate with a degree, get a meaningful job and build a career. They have five campuses in the upper mid-west and Florida, and a major presence on-line. They featured Lead on Purpose among 20 blogs business management students will love.
  • Online Marketing Degrees: Provides information to people who are seeking a college degree in Marketing. They recently featured Lead on Purpose in their 2010 Top Management Blogs awards.
  • Online Schools: Another accredited college that offers degrees online. They featured Lead on Purpose as one of the top 50 Blogs for building strong leadership skills
  • Noop.nl: Run by Jurgen Appelo who is an author, speaker, writer, etc. He included Lead on Purpose in his Top 150 Management & Leadership Blogs post (this is chock-full of links to great leadership sites).

Thank you to all who have shared Lead on Purpose. But most importantly, thanks to all of you who read Lead on Purpose! I appreciate your support.

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Battle of the bloggers

Tomorrow I have the opportunity to speak at the AIPMM Battle of the Bloggers and tell the people why Lead On Purpose is the top product management blog. Given the level of competition among the participating bloggers and the many other great blogs “out there” it’s a daunting task to say the least. In preparing for my brief (~5 minute) speech I’ve come up with a few reasons why Lead On Purpose is important to the product management community:

  • Promoting leadership in product management: The blog was started with the intent to promote leadership practices that will help product managers work effectively with people: customers, partners and most especially, their co-workers on whom they depend for success.
  • On Purpose: Product managers have to be leaders (in the true sense of the word) because they have the responsibility on their shoulders to get products out the door on time, with high quality and under budget. BUT, they do not manage or have authority over the people they depend on for success. Therefore, they need to be leaders and do it on purpose.
  • Features of the blog: The success of Lead on Purpose comes from its focus on the need for strong leadership principles. The Product Management Perspective applies the leadership principles taught (in a given post) to product management. Guest bloggers have added tremendous value. I continue to learn from books I read and share that knowledge in book reviews. In January I started the PM Pulse, a separate blog where I post interviews with the thought leaders in product management and marketing.
  • Perl of wisdom: The thing that keeps me writing is a love for learning. My favorite quote on leadership is this from Eric Hoffer: “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future.  The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” The effort, time and money we spend on learning and filling our minds with new opportunities will benefit us exponentially.

Blogging can be a lonely proposition; you put yourself “out there” for the world to see and judge, never knowing for sure what people really think. But then you get that comment or link or direct message from a reader who appreciates what you’ve written – then it’s all worth it.

Thank you — readers of Lead On Purpose — you are the reason I write.


Fixing the diffusion-poor company

Diffusion-poor companies have a difficult time monetizing good ideas. They often suffer from the “not invented here” thinking. As a result, new products and services are not properly rolled out to the market. In decentralized organizations, managers are often given a fair amount of autonomy, which gives them the ability to stop new ideas from other parts of the company from “taking the time” or “disrupting” their teams. In cases where managers do not necessarily have the ability to say no to new ideas, they can still sabotageprojects they don’t believe in. These practices halt or slow down the diffusion of products and services to the market.

Companies that have a difficult time getting traction for their new ideas need to find a catalyst. The authors of The Innovation Value Chain recommend promoting an “idea evangelist”–someone who preaches the good word about an emerging product or business. They use their deep personal networks to increase awareness internally and promote ideas to customers and others in the market. They reach out through phone calls, emails and socialnetworking to increase awareness.

Ultimately, a company’s ability to recognize market problems, create business opportunities and produce winning products and services depends on its people. When leaders create a culture that gives their people opportunities to grow, innovation–and ultimately success–will happen naturally.

For more information on this topic, see Leadership and innovation and Identifying the weak link in product innovation.

The Product Management Perspective: In most companies, product managers are the catalysts that promote forward-thinking ideas and bring their products to market. Because they work with people from other groups and divisions in their companies, they often act in the role of “idea evangelist” for their products and services. Product managers that take the initiative to lead on purpose become the “go-to” people in their companies and find great fulfillment in their work.