Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


Lead On Purpose — first year

anniversary_1Lead On Purpose is one year old today. Yippee!

On December 2, 2007 I started the blog with a simple post inviting the world to participate in a discussion about developing and practicing leadership principles regardless of title (whether or not they have management responsibilities over other people). In the first few weeks and months things were pretty quiet; few readers, few comments. It was the “deafening silence” that David Meerman Scott writes about. Over time, however, things have picked up and the blog has gained increasing traffic.

People have many and varied reasons why they start blogging. My primary inspiration was Steve Johnson from Pragmatic Marketing. I ran into Steve at a conference, told him about some things I was working on, and he said I should write an article and get it published in The Pragmatic Marketer. I followed his advice and my first article was published in January. Thanks for the kick-start Steve!

Another person who’s had a major influence on my blogging during the past year is Dr. Paul. His blogs and podcast cover important topics that have influenced my writing and thinking significantly. And unlike most of the friends I’ve made in cyberspace, I live close to Dr. Paul and get the opportunity to see him often.

Many others have influenced the direction of this blog; far too many to call out on one post. (Take a look at the blog roll to get an idea of who some of the main contributors have been.) I want to give special thanks to the folks at Ryma Technology Solutions who not only recognized the value in my blog, but liked it (and me I suppose) enough to hire me as a product management consultant and let me do what I love every day. I can honestly say I get up every day excited to go to work.

Lessons learned: Here are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned in my first year of blogging:

  • Focus: Establish an overall theme for your blog and stick to it. For me it finally gelled as I started writing about principles of leadership and applying them to product management. I write about other topics such as team building, trust and learning. Though I do not always do it very eloquently, my goal is to tie each topicback to my overriding theme.
  • Write consistently: To feed the search engines and build an SEO presence, you have to write regularly. I have made it my goal to write at least two posts per week. I write more when I can.
  • Create value: This goes without saying…you need to create something of value for your readers. This is a tough one to judge accurately. Given that the viewership of Lead on Purpose has consistently risen, I think (hope) I can say I’m offering something of value.
  • Write for the reader: Ok, another obvious statement. You may have noticed that I seldom use first person when I write (this post is a specific exception; on purpose). This point became much more apparent in August when I was introduced to The Tuned In Calculator. That has helped me to write for the reader and not for myself.
  • Open up: Create Bio and About pages to let people know who you are and why you write. This idea causes discomfort for many; however, if your going to write you need to let people know who you are and what your purpose is for writing.
  • Have fun: Blogging should be fun. If it’s not, try something else. A good way to get a feel for whether you would enjoy writing your own blog is to read others’ blogs and leave comments. You can also write a guest post for a blog you follow. If you have an idea for a post on my blog, please contact me.

Many thanks to all of you who subscribe to Lead on Purpose, who read it off and on, or stumble upon it by accident. I am grateful for the support you give me and your interest in my writing. Your feedback creates much value for me; please continue to leave comments. Specifically (for this post) I’m interested to know what lessons you have learned from blogging and using other social media.

The Product Management Perspective: I offer my sincerest thanks to the product management community. You are among the smartest, most talented people in the world! I consider it an honor to be one among you and look forward to meeting you both in person and on-line. Please continue to participate in my blog and watch for me on Twitter (coming soon thanks to encouragement from Stewart Rogers and Gopal Shenoy ). More importantly, please let me know what I can do to help you. If you have a topic you want to discuss, please speak up. If you want to write a guest post, please let me know; I welcome the opportunity. The Product Management community is strong and growing, and together we will continue to improve.


Podcast: Tuned In

Phil Myers co-authored the book Tuned In: Uncover the Extraordinary Opportunities That Lead to Business Breakthroughs. In the book, the term “resonator”  is defined as a product or service that so perfectly solves a problem that the the market feels compelled to buy it. The book illustrates how the Tuned In process works for big companies, small companies, individuals, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations; the underlying principles are the same in any business.

Yesterday I had the singular opportunity of participating in a podcast with Phil. The podcast is part of Dr. Paul’s series called Live on Purpose Radio. We had a great conversation about what it takes to create a resonator, the six-step Tuned In Process and how anyone, in any type of organization can benefit by getting tuned in. It was fun to participate and a great opportunity for me to ask questions and learn from one of the tuned in experts.

Please listen to the podcast and leave your comments about your experience and successes with Tuned In organizations. You can download the podcast on iTunes or listen to it here:

Check out these additional resources:


The greatest need

I heard a great statement that is attributed to Dr. Steven Covey. He was presenting at a large conference when someone in the audience asked what (of all the things he’s taught during his career) is the most important idea he’d ever taught. Dr. Covey’s response was that people’s greatest need is to feel and be understood. Of all the great leadership principles he’d taught over his successful career, the most important was simply to remember that people have feelings and an innate desire to be understood by others.

I was introduced to Dr. Covey’s principle through a Live on Purpose Radio podcast with Dr. Paul and Kirk Weisler. While listening to their discussion I thought of three things leaders can do to help people feel and be understood:

  • Help people get what they desire: Leaders have a great opportunity to find out what people want to achieve – from their work, their participation, their efforts that tie them to the organization – and do everything in their power to help them achieve their goals. The more a leader helps others improve, the more he or she will progress.
  • Express and share enthusiasm: People feed off the enthusiasm of those around them. Leaders who love what they do and show it by their expressions, actions and tone, endear themselves to their followers.
  • Communicate with stories: Stories convey meaning powerfully. Stories are among the most effective tools of leadership. They communicate meaning and motivate others to act on what they’ve learned. Stories help the hearer to remember the principles taught.

It’s a simple yet powerful concept: help people feel and be understood. The effects will be measurable.