Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


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3 actions to building a culture of trust

Gaining and keeping the trust of those you lead is one of the top factors to your company’s ongoing success.

To work successfully as a team, the leader must create a culture where people can rely on the strengths and abilities of those they work with and believe in their leader’s direction and vision.

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Why leadership is an endurance race

Success is a marathon, not a sprint. The only way to truly prepare for a marathon is to train, to practice, to run. You need to get out on the road. You need to put in the miles. It takes time, it takes effort, and sometimes it hurts a lot.

As the great marathon runner Juma Ikanga said after winning the New York Marathon: “The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare.” You can want to win more than anyone else in the world, yet if you do not put in the work, it will not matter.

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How to deal with change effectively

Guest post by Matt Driscoll

ORtCPhoto courtesy of Shutter Stock

Change has long been considered vital for businesses, which need to keep adapting to the times or risk being left behind in their respective industries. While it’s easy to accept that change is necessary, though, it’s not easy to implement across an entire organisation without issues being raised or problems being encountered. One of the best ways of introducing changes to an organisation is to ensure that different teams, departments and stakeholders are ready to embrace the proposed changes. Continue reading


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Six Channels of Influence: How to Navigate Them Effectively

Guest post by Willy Steiner

The human being is a self-propelled automaton entirely under the control of external influences. Willful and predetermined though they appear, his actions are governed not from within, but from without. He is like a float tossed about by the waves of a turbulent sea.” – Nikola Tesla

Humans are very complex organisms. We are the sum of the various influences of our lives – family, educational, religious, social, national and organizational. I had a client who worked quite a few years in a top-down, command-and-control type of environment. When his boss concurred with his recommendations, that seal of approval, that authority, was all he needed to influence things. When I got to know him he had moved to another organization and proceeded to start with buy-in from his boss prior to the implementation of various solutions. But he got significant cultural resistance because this was not a command-and-control type of environment. He had to work hard developing relationships to get buy-in and reduce resistance. Once we appreciated the differences in influence style between the different organizations, I was very proud to see how my client worked hard to adapt to this new model of influence in the new organization. Continue reading


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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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Why leaders need a long-term vision

Why are you in business? What drives your daily activities—your long-term vision or making the numbers this quarter? If you’re a board member, do you incentivize your executives to make a long-term contribution for the company or to keep the shareholders happy this quarter? If these questions cause you any discomfort, your priorities might be out-of-line with your core values.

In a recent interview with McKinsey & Company, Bill George—Harvard Business School professor and former Medtronic CEO—said the following: Anyone who’s willing to postpone the long-term strategies to make the short-term numbers is in route to going out of business.

In the full interview—Bill George on rethinking capitalism—Mr. George discusses important topics including insisting on the long term, managing expectations and creating lasting value. I recommend you spend a few minutes listening to Bill’s interview; it’s well worth your time.


The Product Management Perspective: One of the key aspects of product management is creating a long-term vision for a product/portfolio. Some are uncomfortable putting too much effort in looking to the future because things change. The core of this discomfort is not so much that things might change, as it is that they will be perceived as being wrong.

Don’t let the possibility that you’ll be wrong stop you from looking towards the future. Regardless of whether you end up right or wrong (or anywhere in between), the efforts you put into planning for the future will pay off. You will learn things you would have missed had you not tried. Be the leader—the CEO—of your product and create a long-term vision of how it will create value for your customers.


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Are You an Effective Business Leader?

Guest post by Mike Gardener

With the economic climate as tough as it currently is, leadership qualities are the main cornerstones of success when it comes to virtually all kinds of businesses. But what are the most important qualities when it comes to effective business leadership? And what are the essential characteristics of leaders that can inspire others to succeed in challenges that would otherwise seem impossible?

Good Judgment

First of all, every business leader that wants to be successful in his or her field needs to know the field inside out and understand even the smallest details, which are sometimes the most important factors in business projects. With good judgment, business leaders will be able to delegate all the task properly and to the right workers, meaning that everything will be done as efficiently as possible and without any wasted time or resources. To find out more about the topic, read this HBR article.

Dedication

Second is the dedication factor. It is of the utmost importance that the person who wants to lead is also the person that is the most dedicated to the goal at hand. Without dedication, there is no chance of having the entire team come together and remain inspired to do well. Success might come nonetheless, but it will be completely random and it will depend on many unrelated factors.

Responsibility

To make things even more complicated, all business leaders that have ambitions to succeed in their fields need to be able to take responsibility for their decisions and actions. That might seem like a very straightforward thing to do, but it often turns out to be one of the issues that many simply cannot overcome. The thing is that it is usually very easy to take responsibility whenever things are going according to the plan. Accepting responsibility for failures, however, is a much more difficult thing to do. Nevertheless, it is also one of the most essential challenges that business leaders need to face (and professional responsibility is obviously not the only thing to care about, social responsibility is yet another thing that has to be accepted). Honesty and willingness to accept defeats can go a long way – and, together, they can help leaders turn a bunch of skilled workers into a true team.

Creativity

Finally, leaders that want to succeed also need to be creative to overcome all the difficulties that might arise at any given moment. Original plans are worth sticking to and they will work in the majority of cases – but, from time to time, it is also quite important to innovate and change strategies at a moment’s notice. And that is when creativity will be crucial to the overall chances of succeeding. Successful business leaders will recognize those occasions and won’t be afraid to change strategies in order to find a way around the obstacles that might be found along the way. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is also possible to find schools that emphasize creativity in business leadership.

Uniting Through a Vision

There is, however, a bottom line to all these things. Namely, there is one ability that every effective business leader simply has to have – the ability to unite everything under one clear vision. You might be a leader that knows his or her business field inside out and still remain relatively unsuccessful if you are unable to present a vision that others could follow and a goal that others could strive for. The fact that the most successful business leaders (check this list for a good idea about how visions and businesses are related to each other) are also often regarded as true visionaries is definitely not accidental. The very opposite of that is true – it shows exactly what are the most important qualities when it comes to business leadership.

Mike Gardener is one of the owners of TheOfficeProviders.com , a company that provides office space for all kinds of businesses. Visit their website in order to find a suitable office space for your own business or just to learn more about the company itself.

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