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I took the opportunity this morning to respond to Pragmatic Marketing’s latest survey of product management and marketing professionals.  I don’t respond every year, but when I do, I am always intrigued by what questions have changed over the years and/or the wording of some of the questions.

With this most recent survey, there were three questions in particular that caught my attention. Why? Well, my mantra for this blog has always been whether you intentionally chose the role or had it thrust upon you, Product Managers are called to be leaders.  And these particular questions hit at some very poignant leadership qualities.  Let’s have a look …

The first question asked ‘How would you rate yourself in the following areas’?
  • Inspires Others (the ability to inspire others to action)
  • Truth to Power (being able to raise uncomfortable issues to leadership)
  • Synthesis (beyond gathering data, the ability to synthesize it down to a call to action)
  • Pitch Artist (the ability to stand up to peers, managers and executives and sell them your ideas and conclusions)
  • Executive Debater (being a strong advocate for what is right in the market and the product and challenging executive teams when necessary)
  • Consensus Builder (aligning the organization to solve a problem together)
  • Empathetic (the ability to understand what others are going through, both inside and outside the company)

I love this question, because it cuts to the heart of leadership … the ability to influence, communicate, and collaborate! The next two questions related back to this list of skills with 2 intriguing questions (paraphrased):

  1. Of the skills, which are the most important?
  2. Which are most rewarded in your company?

Wow.  Two very different questions that could highly influence behavior.  Even if you rank something as important, if it isn’t rewarded within the company, how many people will focus there?  If one gets you short-term recognition and monetary reward, and the other gets you long-term strategic sustainability … where would you focus your efforts?

For me, the prioritization of those 2 questions didn’t necessarily align.  I can’t wait to see the result of the survey to see if this is consistent with others.