Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

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Creating a culture of persistence

We live in a world that makes it increasingly easy to justify failures and abdicate responsibility. Too often the news trumpets the reasons why certain groups don’t get what they want, and they showcase how those in authority are responsible for others’ shortcomings.

While there are certainly injustices in world today, successful individuals don’t let them affect how hard they work or what steps they take to progress. Capable leaders keep doing the right things for their teams and their customers. They persist through difficulties, and in the process, they create a culture of persistence.

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Recognizing your path to success

Every successful individual I’ve ever met has told me their path to success was filled with surprises and obstacles they never thought about before they started. Things happened they never anticipated. They experienced both positive surprises and disappointing setbacks. But the thing they all have in common is this: they never gave up!

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How deep is your desire to succeed?

As I’ve gotten older and seen more the of what the world offers, I’ve come to realize that success depends as much on the desire of an individual as anything else. Hard work, persistence and intelligence also factor in, and depending on the endeavor (for which one is striving to succeed) these may play a bigger role. However, without a burning inner desire, your chance of success is greatly diminished.

While there are many ways desire helps you meet objectives, here are three factors that, if focused on, will accellerate your path to success: Continue reading

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The value of persistence

Let’s face it…some days are tough, some months are long, and occasionally some years seem endless. When you’re going through difficult times it can be tough just to get out of bed in the morning, and rolling up your sleeves and working can seem nearly impossible in these difficult down times. With that said, we (at least everyone reading this blog) know that tough times come, and they go. And those who brush it off and keep going will succeed in the end.

Former US Secretary of State Collin Powell summed it up nicely when he said; “Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty and persistence.”

Achieving success requires a continuation of effort. Mark Sanborn calls this Staying Power. When you face a big project, you spend time preparing and then exert increased effort to finish on time and with high quality. When you finish you do not pat yourself on the back as if you have “arrived” but you look forward to the next opportunity. You may (and should) take time to celebrate after completing a successful project, but the next day you get up and go back to ‘training’ for the next big project, just like you would train for the next race. It’s the continuation of successes that becomes the success.

Remember, success is the journey, not the destination. Persistence keeps you moving forward on that journey.

The Product Management Perspective: You can’t overstate the importance of persistence in creating great products. Things do not always go as planned. Great product managers learn from past mistakes and continue to press forward regardless of the obstacles they face. Product success does not come overnight, but instead comes over time, though consistent application of sound principles.


Persistence and leadership

Great leaders are persistent. They persevere through trials and develop the ability to weather tough storms. Calvin Coolidge, 30th US President, said:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Persistence is a key characteristic of great leaders. Gaining it requires determination; a mindset that no matter what you will stick to your principles and goals. Achieving success requires hard work and a mindset to move forward regardless of the obstacles.

Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) articulates it powerfully in its IBD’s 10 Secrets to Success: “Be persistent and work hard. Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up.”

The Product Management Perspective: The importance of persistence in creating great products cannot be overstated. Things do not always go as planned. Great product managers learn from past mistakes and continue to press forward regardless of the obstacles they face. Product success does not come overnight, but instead comes over time, though consistent application of sound principles.

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Tenacity in 2012

Successful people share several common traits; tenacity is at the top. Merriam-Webster defines tenacious as “persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired.” Think about your favorite athlete, actor, business leader, or other successful person and you’re sure to find tenacity as one of their defining characteristics.

Tenacity fuels persistence. Persistence is analogous to running a marathon. To run a successful marathon you have to spend ample time (months or more) preparing. The time you spend, and what you do leading up to the race, will determine how well you perform during the race. To succeed in leadership you have to work hard and continually hone your interpersonal skills. You find ways to motivate successful teamwork and positive interaction. Persistence means you keep at it (whatever ‘it’ is) for the long haul.

But there’s something more about tenacity (than just persistence). Tenacity means believing in yourself when others doubt you. It’s giving that extra bit of effort at the critical moment. It’s fighting through the pain, the doubt and the discouragement when things don’t go exactly how you expect. Tenacity requires that never-give-up effort that pushes you to go beyond what you thought you were capable of doing.

How will you show tenacity in 2012?

The Product Management Perspective: Tenacity is key for creating great products. Product success does not come overnight, but instead comes over time, through consistent application of sound principles. Let tenacity drive your product vision; your company (and its shareholders) will thank you.