Go 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
To be a disruptive force in an existing market you have to be nimble, quick, and lean. One of your primary advantages over the existing competition is your agility. The behemoths in your space have lots of employees, complex organization charts, and they hold endless meetings to make simple decisions.
You and your team are small. You are able to quickly respond to customer’s feedback and expectations. When a problem arises, you don’t have to call a review committee. You simply analyze the problem, formulate a solution, and execute. Continue reading
I 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
Have you ever left work feeling like you worked nonstop all day, except you have absolutely no idea what you did? It was like you were there, you were working, but nothing worthwhile actually happened.
How about the constant interruptions all day? You sat down at your desk this morning knowing generally what you needed to get done, then the phone rang, or your boss walked in, or your buddy down the hall chatted you up all morning about his weekend at the beach. Now it is four thirty, and just like before you have nothing to show for the day’s work. Continue reading
“It gets easier the closer to the top you get”
I have heard many different variations of this perspective over the years. I have heard peers express their longing to be the CEO so they can make lots of money and not have to work hard. I have heard leaders joke about the hard day they just put in at the golf course. I have heard people of all socioeconomic levels make assumptions about a leader’s lack of work ethic, simply because they are a leader.
I find every one of these perspectives to be rather frustrating. Continue reading
I believe the success of innovative products depend upon the dedicated team driving that product. Because there are so many forces opposing new products entering the market, the development team has to be unified and focused on the goal to succeed. The team has to have a leader they respect and are willing to follow when those opposing forces are bearing down.
That responsibility can be a lot for a leader. Especially when that person is having to play the corporate political game at the same time. Too often team leaders can focus their energy on impressing executive management instead of impressing the development team. Yet, these are the people who are the engine moving the new product to market. Continue reading
Have you ever taken the fall for someone else? How did you feel? There was likely a bit of anger, frustration, and resentment. You probably told yourself that you would never allow that situation to happen again.
What if I told you not to make that resolution? That instead, you should seek opportunities to stand in the line of fire for someone else. For someone you lead.
As product managers, we are responsible for leading teams that take ideas from concept to reality. By definition this is a learning and developmental activity. As with all learning, people make mistakes. This is in fact how most people and teams learn, by trial and error. This is likely how you yourself learned, by making mistakes. Continue reading
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