There was a lot of great feedback when Products That Count first launched the Strategic Product Management Boot Camp. One of the aspects that resonated most with product leaders and managers alike was the Growth Mindset Assessment. Everyone agreed that a growth mindset was imperative to the success of a product team.
Why the Growth Mindset?
A growth mindset is imperative for PMs to be great because it characterizes their capacity to learn. When boiled down, learning, adapting, innovating, and growing are essential to product management. PMs need that level of critical thinking because they are responsible for bringing innovation to life at scale in large (and small) enterprises. Additionally, most PMs have been on the job for two years or less. There is a need to create a culture where the growth mindset allows everyone on the product team to see challenges as an opportunity for growth, and there should be a constant pursuit of continuous improvement.
Products That Count created a Growth Mindset Assessment for individual PMs and product teams overall to benchmark their capacity to learn and where they stand today. As mentioned before, it’s become one of the most important KPIs of our Strategic Product Management Boot Camp. It helps to identify gaps and areas for growth within a product team.
The Growth Mindset Assessment includes 20 questions. Each individual that takes it responds to each prompt on a scale of 1-4. 1 is never, 4 is always. At the end of the assessment, the individual is given their total score and the benchmarks for where they rank.
The results when product management teams focus on increasing their growth mindset have been incredible. There has been an average of 30 percent more engagement amongst PMs, which is a leading indicator for building better products and PM teams. Also, the product teams who have invested in learning have seen great increases in their Growth Mindset. In fact, our first Cisco cohort had an increase on average of 37 percent, and our first CBS Interactive cohort improved on average of 42 percent across the board.
The Growth Mindset Assessment is just the beginning
The Growth Mindset Assessment served its purpose. Products That Count has been able to highlight product team gaps and areas for improvement. We also began to make recommendations on how to improve in those areas that were identified.
In giving these recommendations, we realized that there were so many more products managers, leaders, and teams as a whole that could benefit from those insights and best practices. After all, at Products That Count, we’re not just answering the key questions of:
- What makes a great product?
- What makes a great product manager?
- What makes a great product leader?
We’re also working to turn product teams into a competitive advantage for their organizations.
The Growth Mindset Boot Camp helps to understand how to participate in and create a Growth Mindset culture. Each video lesson corresponds to one of the questions in the Growth Mindset Assessment, making it easy to map out the lessons to your areas of growth revealed in the Assessment. In addition to each video lesson, there is supplemental content to help further your learning. Lastly, there is an assignment for you to take what you’ve learned in the lesson and apply it to your day-to-day work.
What do you learn?
Product managers and leaders learn helpful frameworks and models for honing and maintaining your growth mindset during this program.
The conversation kicks off by talking about overcoming resistance to change and how everybody likes the idea of learning far more than the process. Knowing you’re not alone will help you keep a growth mindset in your career and focus on learning constantly.
We also talk about SMART goal setting and how sticking to specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based goals will help you achieve your goals and continue to improve within the growth mindset as you learn from what did and didn’t work.
As we are Products That Count, we also talk about the products and processes you can use to share information as a product team. Establishing the growth mindset requires effective communication so everyone can learn from the obstacles we face and do a better job the next time a PM faces that challenge.
To succeed with the growth mindset, it’s also imperative to have the right people in the right seats, which is a framework Jim Collins detailed in his book Good to Great. Have the right PMs with the right responsibilities means everyone across your product team can effectively keep a growth mindset.
We also discuss the Science of Total Motivation and the importance of play, purpose, and potential. This will allow you to keep a growth mindset by better understanding your peers and how you can help build a great product-first culture within your organization.
Celebrating wins, big and small, is a great way to encourage a growth mindset culture. We share a framework for talking about accomplishments and doing Shout Outs to celebrate milestones along the product lifecycle.
A growth mindset culture requires a positive work environment. Everyone has to feel comfortable enough to express ideas and opinions to build the best products. That starts with onboarding, includes check-ins, and taking opportunities for learning and personal growth.
Tracking progress is another great way to hone your growth mindset because it allows you to see all the ways you’ve already succeeded and identifies areas where there’s still room for improvement.
Learning how to make thoughtful decisions is another way to improve. You can do this by making decisions based on three factors: intuition, analytics, and feedback. Another module covers following through on decisions and product road maps by expanding on those factors to include understanding the resource that is time, having a clear Go-To-Market strategy, setting deadlines, and rewarding follow-through.
For a product team to succeed in having a growth mindset, PMs need to have productive meetings without the leader present. Otherwise, there could be a bottleneck. Delegation, setting clear expectations, avoiding micro-management, getting appropriate resources, offering constructive feedback, communication, and rewarding work done well will help create an environment for the growth mindset to thrive.
To improve communication and build a great product team, we discuss the Tuckman team development model, which outlines the four stages teams go through forming, storming, norming, and performing. If you know what to expect as your team comes together, it’s easier to stay on track with the growth mindset and build a better product team. Our conversations about the Tuckman model includes setting ground rules to help a team get through the forming and storming stages and stay on track with the growth mindset.
Understanding a PM career and how/when to take on new responsibilities is another way to work the growth mindset into your role. We shared how other PMs and product leaders have done that in their careers to help you.
You don’t have to improve at all of these at once, either. This program is all about continuous improvement. Select a few that you think you and your team need to address immediately. Then, pick another group and set goals to work on them in the short term. Lastly, create some long-term goals for you and your team.
If you’re a PM or product leader who thinks your product team would benefit from The Growth Mindset Boot Camp, please complete the form at the bottom of this page.