How to Earn Your Teams Trust

joshua-tree-illusion-dweller-10Go big or go home. That’s what we used to say to each other while climbing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We pushed ourselves harder and harder every season. We were constantly trying to find our best on those boulders, cliff faces, and mountains.

I’m still trying to go big. Except now the mountains have become revenue goals, and the relentless desire to get to the top of the cliff has been refocused on some crazy new product. The game has changed, but the rules are the same.

One of the mandatory elements you have to have in climbing is trust. Trust in your partner. Trust in his abilities, his focus on your shared goal, and his commitment to always putting his partner’s safety first. Trust in your partner is sometimes all you have when your ten miles away from the nearest phone and on a 1000’ vertical rock face. Continue reading

What Mud & Teams Have in Common

Jensen Tough MudderI have heard a lot about the Tough Mudder challenge for a few years now. It has always sounded like a great event, I just never found the motivation to try it out. Luckily for me, I work for a company that values team building and comradery. So when one of my co-workers called and asked me to join the official company team, I figured why not.

For those of you who don’t know what a Tough Mudder is, I will quickly explain. A few years back there were a couple of guys who came up with this idea for an endurance running event. The concept was to lay out a 10-12 mile course. Scattered throughout that course would be 20 military style obstacles that would challenge runners both from a mental and physical stand point. So participants scale walls, military crawl under barbed wire in mud, and run through a field with dangling electrical wires charged with 10,000 volts. Continue reading

Why failure is an option

It was another beautiful day in the Sierra’s. Not a cloud in the sky and the surrounding mountains were perfectly reflected in the glassy surface of the lake resting in the valley below. The sounds of tourists exploring the mountains echoed off the surrounding granite walls. They sounded happy and excited, completely unaware of the epic battle I was currently engaging in with one particular cliff on that mountainside.

34884_425727596120_4950067_nI was forty feet above the ground and desperately trying to control my breathing so my leg would stop shaking (a phenomenon rock climber’s call sewing machine). The tips of my fingers were delicately hanging onto two small edges protruding from the face of the cliff. Every second I refused to continue on increased the burning sensation in my forearms from the lactic acid. Continue reading

I believe that you and your team can accomplish anything

Tommy Caldwell Kevin JorgesonIf you have been following the news the last couple of months than you probably heard about the couple of guys who climbed the New Dawn Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. If not, then click here, here, or here. As a climber, I have been following the Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson story for over five years. I have watched as they have come closer to success each year. I found it very interesting that this particular story resonated with the general public so much. Climbers have been doing really hard and crazy things for a long time now. I have been wondering why people were so drawn to this story. Continue reading

A Few Tools I Use To Resolve Conflicts

In the last post we talked about where product managers run into conflicts and what some of the root causes for those conflicts are. In this post we will take a look at some tools I have found to be useful when working on conflict resolutions.

Leave Your Emotions at the Door

The quickest way to escalate a tense situation is to let your emotions control your actions. So many things can go wrong if you go into a confrontation feeling intense emotions such as embarrassment, anger, or fear.

When I have to have difficult conversations with people who I feel have wronged me, I sometimes have these emotions stirring inside. It is important to keep these feelings from influencing the things I do or say so that I don’t negatively impact my team.

DeathtoStock_Medium9To accomplish this, I will often step outside and focus on my breathing while walking around the building. Continue reading

Building Great Teams

20150221_121948_Richtone(HDR)

The team is the engine that moves the product to the market. A team that is well oiled is often unstoppable. Every member understands where the product is headed and should be excited about the role they play in taking it there.

You are the driver. You are at the wheel making sure everything stays on course. To be an effective driver, you need the right tools. You need to understand how to build the engine, keep it oiled, and improve it. Continue reading