Doing What It Takes To Drive Product Growth
It’s commonly said that the Product Manager is the “CEO” of the product. In the context of product growth, let’s take that phrase and think about what it can mean.
Does it mean that you have unilateral control over product direction?
No, because inevitably your users decide the fate of your product. In addition, product development is never the source of one mind. Conversely, it occurs through the collaboration of multiple teams and feedback cycles to vet out a product.
Well then, what can you take out of that term?
Perhaps the term “CEO” of the product points to a larger discussion about the nature of how some CEOs function, and perhaps how all should function.
Disclaimer – I have not, at this point, led a company. But, I do respect certain leadership styles in the CEOs I have personally worked with or for, and those that I have admired from a distance.
Specifically, each of the CEOs I respect and have grown from share a few traits:
(1) An unwavering commitment to do whatever it takes to lead the company to success
(2) The ability to listen to and leverage each respective teams and functions for their core expertise
(3) Setting clear goals and expectations for the company and each team to drive success
Here are a few examples of great CEOs that come to mind.
Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Pete Flint of Trulia, Spencer Rascoff of ZillowGroup. And of course, I would be remiss not to mention Aaron Emigh of Brilliant.
Let’s reposition these attributes in terms of your role as a product manager.
- First, you must have an unwavering commitment to do whatever it takes to lead the product to success (which in turn will help the company).
- Second, you must have the ability to listen to and leverage each respective team and functions for their core expertise (which is intrinsic to product development).
- Third, you must set clear goals and expectations for the product to drive success (which will be driven from company goals).
Apply this to your own product management practice.
I personally use this method and aim to drive to this bar of excellence in my own work product.
At different moments in each role and work product, you will gain clarity and focus on each point in the framework.
In each role, what is required for you to push forward on achieving all three will be different – but when you do, you and your team will reach a level of flow, or a cadence of operation, that is likely unparalleled.
In my next few articles, I will describe a few of these stories from my own experiences, including times I have learned and applied skills like Analytics, UX, and more to do what it takes to drive product growth.
About the speaker
Gaurav is a Product Leader with more than 5 years of experience across all aspects of Product Management, Design, and Strategy. He is passionate about companies with a mission to better people's lives in a tangible way, and is a large proponent of product management through collaboration and emotional intelligence.