Cool as a Cucumber

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A friend of mine shared an article the other day from Forbes titled Are You Sabotaging Your Career By Being Perceived As A Doer And Not A Leader?  While I have reservations about a one or two points, much of the article is a good read. And for me it helps expose certain truths about being a leader that resonated deeply with me.  While I agree with my friend’s sentiment being a leader also means being a doer at times, it requires more of us. This quote from the middle of the article perhaps summarizes it best … leaders are not afraid to do … but they are most effective when they calmly influence and motivate others towards the broader vision!

Often the missing ingredient is “Executive Presence.” Those with executive presence exude confidence; they are influential, proactive and respond calmly, but firmly in challenging situations. In other words, they are “cool as a cucumber” under stress. They are considered leaders as they focus on the big picture and motivate others toward the overall success of the company. They are not afraid to step outside of their offices, roll up their sleeves and pitch in when needed.

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S-curves, Innovation & Cash Cows

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Despite the depressingly cyclical nature of products being common knowledge and in plain sight, it’s shocking how many companies refuse to see it and leave themselves ripe for disruption …The only path then, to build a lasting tech company, lies in successfully making the jump from one S-curve to another … the middle of the innovation curve lures companies into thinking that their mission is to protect their existing audience and market share — the most fatal mistake of all.

Stumbled across Why you should kill your cash cow the other day, and it has some insightful reminders all product management leaders should take to heart.

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Where Does Leadership Begin and End?

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Where does leadership begin and end? Is it intrinsically tied to walking into and out of our work doors every day (either literally or virtually)?  Or does it extend beyond the work aspects of our lives into the core being of who we are?  Many years ago I had the privilege of participating in a leadera9d9c7c2ee40aa511c1d7550b8a21014ship training curriculum that guided me to the conclusion for me personally … it is the latter.  For example, my role as a leader definitely did not stop walking out of the work door after I became a parent!

Honestly, it shouldn’t shock any of us the same leadership characteristics which help us in our roles as Product Management Leaders transfer quite nicely to our roles in family (spouse, father, etc) or in our community (PTA, Homeowners, volunteering, etc).

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Doing Things Right? Or Doing the Right Things?

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Problem solving.  Chances are if I were to query Product Management leaders, a majority would intimate they were good at it. After all, it is one of the fundamental premises of the role, isn’t it?  There generally is no shortage of challenges, frequently on a daily basis, were input is needed, decisions are necessary, and direction is given.

And yet as this HBR article Are You Solving the Right Problems? points out 85% of C-level executives feel their organizations are bad at it.  How could the problem of problem solving be a problem in and of itself?

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My Take on Good/Bad Product Manager

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Several weeks ago during one of our planning sessions, my boss referred to the Good Product Manager, Bad Product Manager post by Ben Horowitz.  While it has taken me awhile to get around to reading it, I am sure glad I did.  Love, love, love the context of the article … and disagree with thproduct-managemente opening statement about possibly not being relevant today and/or outdated.

The underlying premise and ideas behind what is shared are, in my opinion, timeless. If you are interested in being a successful leader in product management, this is where you need to start!

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The Trust Factor

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A colleague of mine commented on the article The Neuroscience of Trust from HBR the other day.  I was intrigued because in my last post I made the point about building rapport and trust with the Sales team.  Building trust seems somewhat subjective at face value … you either trust somebody or you don’t.  Sometimes it is based on actions, sometimes it is based on feeling.

And yet the article implies something different. To have a scientific study offering empirical data on the subject compelled me to have a look …

In its 2016 global CEO survey, PwC reported that 55% of CEOs think that a lack of trust is a threat to their organization’s growth. But most have done little to increase trust, mainly because they aren’t sure where to start. In this article I provide a science-based framework that will help them.

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Kickoff Events – Align, Educate, & Motivate

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Kickoff meetings are upon us. For some, this elicits feelings of anxiety and dread … for others, excitement and anticipation. As Product Management leaders, and assuming product has a role in the discussion (which isn’t always the case, but that would be another post), how should we approach the meeting? What role should we be playing? What do we want/expect the sales team to walk away with?

At a minimsales-meeting-cartoonum you should be seeking to align on the what (objectives/goals), educate on the
how
(product, vision); and motivate them on the why (make them yearn for the sea!). As I’ve been prepping for my own kickoff meeting, I’ve cobbled together a few of my previous posts, along with a couple of other articles I found to be helpful.  My hope is these will get you heading in the right direction as well. Enjoy.

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The H.E.A.R.T. of Leadership

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I’ve pointed out in many instances … whether intentionally chosen, or inadvertently thrust upon them, Product Managers should be leaders. I just got reacquainted with a book I finished several years ago by Mark Miller, The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Wthe_definition_of_leadershipant to Follow.  What a wonderful characterization of not just leadership skills, but leadership character. It is an easy read, so I would recommend picking it up for yourself, but here is a summary of the main five points with some of my thoughts included.

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John Anderton … you could use a Guiness right about now!

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It’s been nearly four years since I first came across this intriguing article from Business Insider titled Here’s Why ‘The Internet Of Things’ Will Be Huge, And Drive Tremendous Value For People And Businesses.  As I read through post, this quote jumped out at me …

“…we look at the transition of once-inert objects into sensor-laden intelligent devices that can communicate with the other gadgets in our lives.”

minorityreportHmm … makes me think of the scene from the 2002 movie Minority Report where the character John Anderton is walking through a public space and the various “devices” are reading his retina and advertising to him personally (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bXJ_obaiYQ). What seemed futuristic when the movie came out is actually not that far away.

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It’s Approaching That Time of Year Again!

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Yep … the much awaited (or possibly much dreaded) performance review cycle & goal setting for the upcoming year.  I’ve focused several conversations in the past of reviewing performance, goals, competencies, and the like.  I’ve included those posts at the end if you are so inclined to have a look.

But this morning I wanted to focus attention on an article I came across recently that speaks to all of the above, and it completely resonated with me.  The article is from Peter Drucker called What Makes an Effective Executive.  Sound advice for Product Management leaders as we prepare for 2017!

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