Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


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The essence of leadership

Here’s a fitting leadership quote for uncertain times:

”All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common; it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”

– John Kenneth Galbraith


The Product Management Perspective: Look for opportunities to ease the concerns and anxiety of the people you work with. You may not be their boss, but because you are the product manager, people on other teams look to you for not only direction, but also assurance that things will be okay. They need to know the company will get through these difficult times and their product(s) will succeed. You can give them that confidence; take the initiative.


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Leadership in uncertain times

Things are tough these days, especially on Wall Street. People all over the world are feeling the effects of the down business cycle. Times like these cause many hunker down, stop taking risks, and even languish in their leadership.

It’s times like these — when the economy is ‘down’ and the shrill voices from the news outlets are pessimistic — when great opportunities arise; when leaders step up and truly make a difference. Seth Godin wrote a great post today about how the recent tough timeshave people looking for a reason to hide. He says that, for people and institutions that feeling stress, “it’s almost as if everyone is just waiting for an excuse to do less. In fact they are.” He discusses how growth is frightening and change brings fear of public failure. Then, in his charastic way, Seth hits the point: “Inc. magazine reports that a huge percentage of companies in this year’s Inc. 500 were founded within months of 9/11. Talk about uncertain times.” Leaders step up in uncertain times. They see the positive in the future. They move forward knowing that things will work out. Today is a great day to step up and lead on purpose.

The Product Management Perspective: Uncertain times provide great opportunities for product managers. They are in the position to demonstrate leadership in their organizations; not only product leadership, but also people leadership. Take advantage of these uncertain times, and step up and become the leader in your organization.