“Extreme would not be extreme without fear. And fear would not be worth it without the love of the game.”
Are you an extreme leader? According to Steve Farber, author and business leadership expert, extreme leaders “approach the act of leadership as you’d approach an extreme sport: learn to love the fear and exhilaration that naturally comes with the territory.” To become an extreme leader you need to seek opportunities that will stretch you and ultimately cause fear. The fear defines the experiences that lead to extreme leadership.
To create the experiences that will strengthen your leadership, Farber recommend you take a Radical LEAP every day. LEAP is an acronym for the following: Continue reading →
Perhaps the most common measurement of business success is ROI — return on investment. When it comes to relationship economics, Spaulding introduces a different concept — Return on Relationships (ROR). According to Spaulding, ROR comes in many forms and should be as important to individuals and organizations as profits, revenues and ROI — because with out generating ROR, the ROI won’t matter. He cites as proof a 2007 Gallop Management Journal survey that estimates that “actively disengaged workers” cost the U.S. economy about $382 billion annually. Developing relationships drives engagement (in school, in work, in personal lives) that pays dividends.
Spaulding describes relationships in terms of a five-floor building. The deeper the relationship, the higher the floor. While relationships seldom fit into a nice, tight definition, the “Five Floor” plan provides definition and gives boundaries that define relationships:
First Floor: We meet and greet. We exchange business cards. It typically involves a transactional exchange.
Second Floor: We begin sharing more information, but it’s very basic information; the type dispensed out of social obligation or because it’s a job requirement, not because we’re offering some insight into who we are.
Third Floor: People develop an emotional comfort level that goes beyond facts and information. We learn about the lives of our co-workers, vendors and clients and other professional associates. We begin to understand something about who they are as people, even if we don’t agree with all their opinions.
Fourth Floor: These relationships take on a deeper, more significant meaning. We share common interests, goals, beliefs and causes. At this level we’ve learned to work through conflicts, and we respond in ways that show we value the relationship for its own sake.
Fifth Floor: These relationships go well beyond Dale Carnegie’sHow to Win Friends & Influence People. In these relationships, vulnerability, authenticity, trust and loyalty are off the charts. They are relationships built on shared empathy — an intuitive understanding of each other’s needs, even those that aren’t necessarily expressed. We literally “feel” another person’s state of mind.
Building a relationship begins by focusing your genuine, sincere attention on the other person. It’s not about you. Find ways to move your relationships forward.
Success, in any endeavor, requires effective relationships. Leadership grows and develops through building effective relationships. I highly recommend It’s Not Just Who You Know as guidebook to building effective relationships and increasing your leadership potential.
The Product Management Perspective:Building effective relationships is absolutely crucial for success in product management. Product managers rely heavily on other people — engineers, sales people, support, etc. — to ship successful products. PMs that focus on building strong relationships experience more success. PMs who build consensus and inspire team members develop a high ROI on their products and ROR with their colleagues.
One of the most amazing sports records in the history of all sports is 401 wins and 9 losses. This is the career record of Larry Gelwix, coach of the Highland High rugby team (Salt Lake City) for more than three decades. This team was featured in the recent movie Forever Strong. Larry recently recorded a podcast with my friend Dr. Paul on Live on Purpose Radio. During this conversation Larry shares the strategies that have made his teams successful through the years.
What struck me the first time I listened to this podcast is how beautifully these principles apply to product management, to leadership and to life in general. They have obviously worked for Larry and his rugby teams throughout the years.
Here are the five championship strategies:
Choose what team you’re going to play for. Decide what ‘jersey’ you’re going to wear in life, in love, in business, in relationships. Where is your loyalty? Where is your heart? Figure it out, make a decision and don’t look back.
Don’t play with snakes. Every situation has a right and wrong; choose the right.
Hit the field running. Attitude and effort are more important than natural ability. Attitude and effort are more important than natural smarts. Attitude and effort separate the champs from the chumps. Attitude follows behavior; if you want to change your attitude, change your behavior.
Expect to win. Larry spells ‘win’ as an acronym, W.I.N., which stands for “what’s important now.” Look at every situation and ask, “what do I need to accomplish?” Then ask, “what’s important now?” We need to look ahead and have goals for future success, and make choices right now that take us in that direction.
Focus on the final score. Focus on the end game; focus on who you want to be; focus on what you ultimately want to achieve. In life we all write the script of the final person we want to be. If my final score is who I want to be — a man or woman of integrity, of honesty, of virtue, of hard work, of ethics — then I can sustain setbacks and difficulties that come.
Living these five championship strategies will make an incredible difference in your success. As Larry says: “these strategies work!” He has proven this as a coach and as a successful CEO. Don’t miss this podcast; you’ll be glad you listened.
One of the key tenets of leadership is the learning. Great leaders are learners. They read voraciously. They write and teach what they learn. Learning is as much a part of their life as eating. These are a few of my favorite quotes that illustrate the importance of learning:
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. -Eric Hoffer
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. -John F. Kennedy
Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty and persistence. -Colin Powell
Make it your objective to be a life-long learner; every aspect of your life will benefit.
— The Product Management Perspective: Technology continues to evolve ever more rapidly. Markets change quickly. User interests come on speedily and then change overnight. How can you — the product manager — keep up? You have to be a learner. You read books, magazines and other resources that provide relevant information. You read blogs and follow thought-leaders on Twitter; you watch what they are talking about learn as much as you can. Most importantly, you open the door to new ideas and new ways of doing your job.
The recent theme at Lead on Purpose is trust. This focus has come primarily from reading The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey. He discusses the concept of building a trust account, which is similar to a bank account. By behaving in ways that build trust you make deposits, by behaving in ways that destroy trust you make withdrawals. The ‘balance’ in the account reflects the amount of trust you have at any given time. You have a unique trust account with every person you know, and all deposits and withdrawals are not created equal.
Trust is built or destroyed by behaviors. Covey teaches 13 Behaviors of high-trust people and leaders worldwide. These behaviors will increase trust and improve your ability to interact effectively with people in every aspect of your life. Here are the behaviors that will help you build trust:
Talk Straight: Be honest. Tell the truth. Let people know where you stand.
Demonstrate Respect: Genuinely care for others. Respect the dignity of every person and every role.
Create Transparency: Tell the truth in a way people can verify. Get real and genuine. Be open and authentic.
Right Wrongs: Make things right when you’re wrong. Apologize quickly. Make restitution where possible.
Show Loyalty: Give credit to others. Speak about people as if they were present. Represent others who aren’t there to speak for themselves.
Deliver Results: Establish a track record of results. Get the right things done. Make things happen.
Get Better: Continuously improve. Increase your capabilities. Be a constant learner.
Confront Reality: Take issues head on, even the “undiscussables.” Address the tough stuff directly. Acknowledge the unsaid.
Clarify Expectations: Disclose and reveal expectations. Discuss them. Validate them. Renegotiate them if needed and possible.
Practice Accountability: Hold yourself accountable. Hold others accountable. Take responsibility for results.
Listen First: Listen before you speak. Understand. Diagnose. Listen with your ears…and your eyes and heart.
Keep Commitments: Say what you’re going to do, then do it. Make commitments carefully and keep them at all costs.
Extend Trust: Demonstrate a propensity to trust. Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust. Extend trust conditionally to those who are earning your trust.
Mastering the 13 behaviors requires a combination of character and competence. You can (and should) work to improve your abilities in each of these areas. Focus on the ones you consider to be your weaknesses and take the attitude that you will improve. Building trust is not something that happens overnight. As Warren Buffet said: “It takes twenty years to build your reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
Study these principles, then master them. Study Covey’s book and practice the principles he so eloquently teaches. Every aspect of your life will improve.
The Product Management Perspective: Trust is the most important characteristic a product manager can possess. To effectively work with development, sales and other teams in your organization you must gain their trust. Trust is key to understanding your customers and your market. Trust is a two-way street: you need to carry out your tasks in such a way that the team members will trust you. You also need to trust that the team members will do what they have committed to do. The 13 behaviors listed above provide an excellent roadmap to developing and extending trust with others.