“If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.”

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The post title is a quote from Mario Andretti. I assume most know who Mario Andretti is, but for those who may not he is one of the most successful racing drivers in history (Formula One, Indy car, and NASCAR).  I’ve been in a NASCAR going 180 mph … I did not feel under control .. and I wasn’t even driving!  But we shouldn’t miss the point of the quote … success sometimes means making decisions that include risk and certainly may require courage.

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What Appears To Be Isn’t Always What Is

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Perspective. If you were to look up the definition and focus on the non-artistic aspect of the meaning, you would find descriptions like ‘the facts known to one … the faculty of seeing all the relevant data … a mental view or prospect … understanding from a certain point of vperspective_taking_69iew’. And the cold hard truth is, whether specific to a certain situation, or due to a lack of maturity or experience, we don’t always have it.

If you have children (especially teenagers) or if you remember your own childhood (especially the teenage years) you understand exactly what I mean. What appears to be isn’t always what is.

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The Light at the End of the Tunnel & New Year Perspectives

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Taking stock towards the end/beginning of a year is always a good idea.  I had every intention of doing this prior to taking some vacation, but unfortunately the dreaded holiday bug caught up with me this year and laid me out for the better part of a week.

So, a bit later than expected, but as we enter 2018 here are some thoughts related to the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, a few thought provoking questions to be considered, and a re-share of some New Year’s Resolutions for Product Management Leaders.  Enjoy!

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The Bird Chooses the Tree … The Tree Does Not Choose the Bird

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The post title comes from a connection on LinkedIn … an author who enjoys teaching others about the differences between management and leadership … one of many inputs I value on my own leadership journey. So what does the question posed in the image have to do with leadership?

Over the years, I’ve had many posts centering on the topic of purpose.  Taking some of those thoughts to heart, I would argue the question has everything to do with the role we serve as Product Management leaders.

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Personas and Journeys and Segments, Oh My!

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It’s been a whirlwind season, so much so I can’t believe almost a month has gone by since my last post.  As Product Management leaders, we all go through times like these where the focus is on the tactical, the deliverable, the current crisis. The key is not getting lost in the forest such that you lose sight of the trees.

So, lifting my head and looking back at the work done, there was actually some good analysis around customer journey maps and personas worth sharing.  I’ve made the point in previous posts part of our role as Product Management leaders is answering these three simple questions:

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

But if you live in a B-B-C world, don’t stop exploring these questions from purely a buyer standpoint.  Make sure you are also contemplating how the end user fits into the equation.

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If I Had More Time I Would Have Said Less

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A recent leader of mine used a similar expression. Upon reflection, it offers tremendous value.  Upon initial glance, however, it could leave you scratching your head.

banner2-2The catalyst for my post today was this article – The Power of Precision. And while the context pertains to editing/writing, there is applicability with how we as Product Management leaders need to strategically communicate. An example:

Their prose is nothing short of amazing. It’s economical, to the point and most of all, clear. This concise crafting of copy is a joy to read, it instills confidence in the reader not just by being useful, but by also managing to communicating the primary benefit and message in a very short period of time.

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Stories: A Catalyst for Change

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Leaders tell emotional, passionate, and often very personal stories … we act because we are emotionally moved and inspired. We change not because of fact alone but because our emotions are telling us that the facts we have heard are correct.” – Art Coombs

Fantastic reminder of something I heard a while ago related to the television show Shark Tank … If not already addressed by the entrepreneur in her pitch, what’s the first question the investors almost always ask?  

You guessed it, what is the story!

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Product Leadership – Lessons Learned Part I

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Taking a long look in the mirror isn’t always easy.  But there are times where it is necessary.  So when I came across this post titled 13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful, it prompted just such a self-awareness opportunity.

Sometimes, to become successful and get closer to the person we can become, we don’t need to add more things — we need to give up on some of them.

I found myself nodding my head as I read through the list of 13 items, and certainly  specific scenarios came to mind from my own experience.  I’m hoping sharing some of these experiences in a two part series can add value to this already wonderfully positioned article.  Here is part 1 from my perspective focusing on points 1-6.

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Continuing Thoughts on Innovation

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A few weeks ago, I published a post When Might it be OK to not Listen to the Customer with the inspiration coming from having just finished Innovator’s Dilemma by Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen.  To oversimplify the summary, it was about the distinction between sustaining and disruptive innovation.

Recently, I also came across an article on HBR titled The 4 Types of Innovation and the Problems They Solve, so it seemed appropriate to expand perspectives and dig into what the author had to say.

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