Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


Five Years of Leading on Purpose

Tomorrow marks the five-year anniversary of the day I started Lead on Purpose. It all started because of an invitation to publish an article in The Pragmatic Marketer (Jan 2008). I wanted an outlet to write about how you can lead regardless of your position or title. Five years has flown by and blogging has become a part of my life.

Writing this blog has been a great learning experience for me. On this anniversary I want to share a few of the key lessons I’ve learned about blogging and life:

Keep it short: Say what you want to say in a few words as possible. (I haven’t always done this.)

Leaders are learners: Take advantage of every opportunity you have to learn new things.

Producers prosper: Those who work hard to build, design, create or imagine new things are called “producers” and they always prosper.

Relationships are key. Spend time building relationships with family, friends and coworkers. Leadership is a relationship.

Trust is vital: Gaining and keeping the trust of those with whom you interact is vital to your success.

Lead with integrity: If you want to enjoy more success in life, live with integrity, lead with integrity.

Many thanks to all of you, the readers, and a special thank you goes to those who have actively participated through comments and guest posts. Here’s to another five years!

The Product Management Perspective: I love product management! I’ve spent the last 12 years working in product management in one form or another. Interacting with you – the product management professionals of the world – is what keeps me going, encourages me to continue writing and stokes the flames that make learning and growing so satisfying.

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Crucial Conversations

In many Crucial Conversationssituations, especially when it comes to leadership, what we say can make or break the outcome. Such is the premise of the book Crucial Conversations: Tools for talking when the stakes are high. What we say, and the way we conduct ourselves at certain, critical times determine our success or lack thereof.

Crucial Conversations was written by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler who have formed a company called Vital Smarts to provide training that helps teams and organizations achieve high results. I have not taken their training, but based on this book, and the corporate case studies, their courses no-doubt help organizations produce better results.

The authors define a crucial conversation as “a discussion between two or more people where (1) stakes are high, (2) opinions vary, and (3) emotions run strong.” They give examples of many different situations where the conversations are crucial; it’s not just in high-stakes business.

When we face crucial conversation we can do one of three things:

  • We can avoid them.
  • We can face them and handle them poorly.
  • We can face them and handle them well.

The book focuses on ideas and techniques we can use to handle crucial conversations well, gain the trust of those with whom we interact, and improve our ability to communicate with others. I have noticed a marked improvement in my own interactions with others since I read this book. If you find yourself in a situation where you depend on working with, living with or interacting with people, and you rely on those interactions, this book will be of great help.