Top CPO Questions to Ask – Influence

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The next topic in my continuing my journey and series of posts exploring the idea Product Management can be summarized in three primary ways (answering three questions) is on the Influence category. A reminder of where we’ve been with the first two categories:

  • Who am I serving? Interpret.
  • What do they need/want, and are ready to buy? Inform.
  • How can I reach/persuade them? Influence.

So what questions should a Chief Product Officer be able to answer with respect to the Influence category?^  My experience leads me to believe this is all about influencing prospects as well as existing customers prospects; driving go-to-market & sales enablement; spearheading thought leadership.

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Top CPO Questions to Ask – Inform

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Continuing my journey and series of posts exploring the idea Product Management can be summarized in three primary ways (answering three questions), today’s discussion will focus on the Inform category.   To summarize the essence of the three questions …

  • Who am I serving? Interpret.
  • What do they need/want, and are ready to buy? Inform.
  • How can I reach/persuade them? Influence.

So what questions should a Chief Product Officer be able to answer with respect to the Inform category?^  My experience leads me to believe this is all about translating disparate inputs into vision; applying to distinctive competence & positioning;  informing the leadership team, the strategy, and the organization.

Admittedly, I really see three distinct elements to this category worthy of exploring:  how to inform from a business centric perspective, how to inform from a product portfolio perspective, and finally (because of the implications of the new digital economy we operate within) how to inform from a product technology perspective.

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Top CPO Questions to Ask – Interpret

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So in my last post, I introduced this journey I am undertaking exploring the idea Product Management can be summarized in three primary ways (answering three questions).   To summarize the essence of where we left off …

  • Who am I serving? Interpret.
  • What do they need/want, and are ready to buy? Inform.
  • How can I reach/persuade them? Influence.

For today, the focus will be on the questions a Chief Product Officer should be able to answer with respect to the Interpret category^. My experience leads me to believe Interpret is all about understanding the markets served; evaluating market dynamics for disruptive shifts; interpreting strategic implications.   In short, the knowledge/understanding necessary to feed strategy.

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Expanding on Interpret. Inform. Influence. – Top Questions to Ask as the CPO

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For quite some time now, I’ve had ideas floating around in my head I wasn’t quite sure what to do with.  I’ve been exploring my career and logical next steps … ideas I’ve captured over time about purpose and passion … and how Product Management ties all of it together.  So this series of posts will be an exploratory adventure as I sort through the ideas, attempt to explain them in meaningful ways, and hopefully add value to those on a similar journey.

I’ve long been a fan of Simon Sinek and his Golden Circle principle, so I am going to use this as a basis for structuring the discussion at a personal level (albeit I will admit up front I am exercising a bit of artistic license and swapping the last two pieces … How & What).

  • Why you do what you do … your purpose/cause/belief
  • What you specialize in … the processing of rationale thought
  • How you do it … the processes/technology/etc. leading to differentiation

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Intersections

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What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘intersection’?  Recently, I’ve had several things pop up related to the topic, so it is one of those paying attention to when coincidences converge moments.

Towards the end of the movie Cast Away, Tom Hanks finds himself at an intersection. His journey has been long and arduous, but having just delivered a package that kept him centered and going after surviving a plane crash and living on a deserted island for an extended period of time, he is literally sitting in an intersection trying to decide which way to go next.

Not many of us will face the circumstances Tom Hanks did in the movie, but we will all inevitably find ourselves in a similar situation trying to make a decision about the future. If you find yourself at just such an intersection, here are some thoughts I hope will point you in the right direction.

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Product Management, Frameworks, & Discipline

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Early on in my career as I finished my education and ventured into the business world, I was always torn.  On the one hand, I had an analytical side to me and was drawn to the structure associated with coding.  On the other hand, the creative side to me loved to explore the possibilities and think outside of the box. Neither was more dominant than the other, so I really hadn’t a clue which direction I would take in my career.

Until I was introduced to the world of Product Management. Several years ago I wrote about the criteria needed for a good Product Manager … but the wonderful thing about the role is it fully relies on both left brain and right brain abilities:

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  • it blends expertise within the domain (vertical market), with the technology, as well as with acumen from a business perspective
  • it blends  strong analytic capabilities (aggregating insights from multiple inputs) with a creative mindset to tie it all together into a compelling story/vision
  • it blends the ability to strategically see the big picture with the ability to focus on the details needed to tactically execute

I was hooked, and not only did I  immediately pursued the role for a career path, but I also became a student of the framework(s) and the discipline.

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“I will prepare, and someday my chance will come”

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Just about a year ago, I wrote about about change in my post Transitions, Mirrors, & Growth, and I made the point change is neither good nor bad necessarily … it just is.    I learned a long time ago life brings change frequently … call them storms. 

Sometimes the stormchanges are violent, sometimes they are gentle … but all storms have impact.  Depending on the approach you take in reacting to the storms, the outcomes can be very different.

It can be easy to wallow in the destructive aspect of them.  Or you can treat the storms as preparation for what is to come,  and therefore emerge stronger on the other side of them. The reality is we cannot always control external circumstances, but we can control how we respond to them.

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Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.

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The emphasis of my post last week was largely about the correlation between self-awareness and introversion.  I used many sources to explore introversion, and included one of the elements called out in the book The 100X Leader …  being self-aware and responsive.

I ended the post from last week with this thought, and it is exactly where I want to pick up again as we continue to further explore points from the book.

To find success, introverts must learn to augment their natural abilities with a strategic dose of extroversion.

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We Never Graduate from the School of Self-Awareness

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If you were to search on the word introvert, you would likely get back a description something like “a shy, reticent person”.  Unfortunately, simple dictionary definitions like this one led me to a misconception of what an introvert really was.  In fact, looking just a bit further down the search results you would see the comment “an introvert may appear to be shy to others, but this is not necessarily an accurate label.”

Why the focus here today? Two recent reads peaked my interest.  The first is this wonderful Forbes article from CEO Chris Myers.  The second comes from a book I just finished reading The 100X Leader. In both cases, the authors focus on self-awareness and leadership.  Mashing comments from the two sources together …

The hallmark of a good leader is they are self-aware and responsive … leaders who are self-aware and introverted are typically better equipped to listen and empathize with the people with whom they interact.

The implication here is a correlation between self-awareness and introversion I found intriguing, and wanted to explore further.

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NYR, FYI, CYA – Thoughts on Email Etiquette

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As part of the exercise culminating in my Leadership Choices post a few weeks ago, I was able to examine samples from other leaders. What was interesting about the exercise was being able to see I hadn’t thought of.  Like including pet peeves.

Several weeks ago, I stumbled upon an article which really resonated with me and I tucked email_etiquette_1300x867it away for future reference.  Ironically the topic of the article came up last week during one of our senior leader team meetings.  As I’ve said in the past, pay attention to when coincidences converge.  As such, it is time to share a few thoughts about email etiquette and a few items on my pet peeve list.  Enjoy.

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