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The rally today is for leaders with purpose, backed by the power of their convictions, faith, and sacrifice, to make a difference in the world. Just as the Founders were men of clear purpose and mission, successful management today charts a clear course with the right women and men in place with the necessary tools to achieve their goals.

As an American, I can look back on this past weekend with great pride.  The obvious reason is the celebration of our independence with the July 4th weekend … and of course the other reason is the triumph of our national soccer team at the women’s World Cup.

There are so many wonderful examples of leadership from the latter worth exploring, and perhaps in another post I will come back to it. But this morning I wanted to reflect on leadership in the context of our founding fathers.

Since I began blogging on the intersection of leadership principles and how they relate to the role of product management, several themes have consistently risen to the top.  And as I read countless articles over the weekend dedicated to the birth of our country (in particular, 4 Leadership Lessons From the Founding Fathers), it was no surprise to me that these same principles inspired our founders.

  • Conviction/Purpose – the article comments convictions: Our founders clung to and fought for the cause of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

I’ve mentioned this in the past as purpose, and the essence it relate’s to the title of Simon Sinek’s book “Start with Why”.  What is the aim or goal of what you are trying to do/accomplish?  The answer should not only pertain to your role as a product management leader, but also as a person.  Here are two posts that comment on this. Aristotle on Purpose, Character, and Leadership & Operating From The Inside-Out

  • Vision/Faith – the article comments The fulfillment of faith: … In their wisdom the founders recognized the truth that … higher power or ideals greater than ourselves. Stepping back to contemplate allows us to see the world around us, and the people entrusted to our leadership, in a more meaningful way. The executive model today is not so much an “independence from” mentality as it is a “responsibility toward” philosophy.

I call this one vision, and it ties very closely with the first point of understanding the why.  It is being able to clearly see and articulate the bigger story.  While I don’t mean to minimize the importance of our individual products, in an of themselves (independent) they are not as strong as when they serve a bigger context (responsibility toward).

As a product management leader, you’ll be most effective when your actions are aligned under the banner of an all consuming vision … something that either clearly speaks to the needs/pains of the marketplace, or imagines an even better way of doing something the market has never thought of before.

  • Sacrifice/Servant Leadership – the article comments The sanctity of sacrifice: Sacrificial leadership is selfless, not self-serving.The commitment made 236 years ago reminds us that no great accomplishment comes without sacrifice and that causes greater than self are  the lasting ones.

I call this one servant leadership … the idea that servant leaders are attentive to the concerns of their followers and empathize with them, including those with little power in a system. Servant leaders make others better by listening, through understanding and empathy, by being aware and especially being self-aware, through persuasion, through conceptualization or vision, by being a good steward, and through commitment to the growth of people and the greater community. Looking for ‘Good’ Leadership