For the past year or so, I have been accumulating various perspectives on Product Management and Leadership. It is what led to me finding a passion in blogging, and it keeps me intentional about priorities. Opinions vary, but there are themes that seem to bubble near the top across most of the ‘top (n)’ lists that I come across … things like vision, passion, humility, servant-leadership, and preparation just to name a few.
…leaders shouldn’t be judged against a standard of perfection, because it’s a willingness to be imperfect that fuels a leader’s ability to experiment, innovate, and evolve.
Finding some quiet time to be intentional about reading, thinking, and planning is important to me … and this post I came across this morning was an important find. Why? Because it was a timely reminder that while results might be important as a product management leader, I’m not expected to be perfect.
That’s right, you heard correctly … no one is expecting you to be perfect, no one is expecting you to have all of the answers all of the time. But you are expected to lead, and sometimes in leading courageously we make mistakes.
Who doesn’t love a good story? I mean, think about it … when you have attended conferences as a product management leader, which sessions stick out in your mind? The ones that dragged on endlessly … or the ones that related the topic through a story? The ones that focused solely on facts, figures and functionality … or the ones that brought the solution to life through illustration, intrigue or relate-able instances?
Very few product management leaders that I have met over the course of my career didn’t show at least some level of enthusiasm about the solutions they were leading. But generally what separates the great product manager from the good ones is the ability to “tell the story”.
I was sitting in a conference this week where one of the speakers made a couple of poignant points that hit to the core of what my week has entailed (actually, the past several months)! First point – adaptability is the key to growth … even when it seems risky or difficult. And second point -adaptability needs to happen at two speeds … with low gear representing existing processes or systems of record, and high gear representing new systems of engagement.
I have known great leaders who light brilliant paths but are less strong in encouraging follow-through. Others, meanwhile, are superb in creating a strong principle-based leadership culture but less overt in communicating the vision. The best leaders are those who have simplified it down to relationships. When that occurs, grace for the leader’s failings are given as much as grace for the minor failings of employees.
The quote is from Jeremie Kubicek’s book ‘Leadership is Dead’. I received a copy not too long ago and have finally gotten around to working my way through it. The essence of the book focuses on influence, and as the quote alludes to … relationships. And I would argue that our success or failure as product management leaders can also be simplified down to relationships.
This may sound like a strange question to begin with, but what is the definition of ‘amuse’? If you were to respond with something related to entertainment, you would be spot on with how we use the word today. But what if I were to tell you that over time the context of the word has changed?
If you will recall English classes from school, when you place the letter ‘a’ in front of a word it serves to negate the original meaning. And if you were to look up the definition of ‘muse’, you would find it means ‘to think about something carefully or thoroughly’ (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). So in its archaic context, the word ‘amuse’ would have actually meant ‘to stupefy … to stare stupidly’, or more simply to not think.