As more companies aim to be product-led, there are higher-level priorities for product leaders. Product managers are rising through the business ranks and gaining seats at C-suite tables, as well as the title of Chief Product Officer. How have the leadership dynamics changed as we see the rise of the CPO? Products That Count CPO Renee Niemi sits down with our founder SC Moatti to showcase the inaugural Global CPO 20 and discuss observations from the best CPOs.

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On The First Global CPO 20

First, Renee gives us a preview of the inaugural Global CPO 20, which is the first award of its kind to honor Chief Product Officers. This upcoming podcast series will feature each of the 20 winners, sharing their insights and experiences as CPOs.

“We are going right in the middle of this massive digital transformation, and it is literally rewriting the rules of business as we speak, which is elevating the importance and the role of CPO. We’ve seen this coming for many years now, but the pandemic has really accelerated. It’s almost like go digital or lose your position in the market. In order for this to happen, especially for some of the more traditional firms, it requires great leadership at the top. It requires great products. Most important, it requires a different cultural mindset that can support this change. The way we did business before is changing massively, and the CPO is front and center and leading that change. 

This is the reason why we decided to go ahead and launch our first inaugural award celebrating the top 20 CPOs in the world. … I will be interviewing each one of the winners, and we’re really going to dig down and understand why they’re successful and see if there are learnings that we can share with others so that they can have the same level of success that these amazing CPOs have had. Obviously, any CPO should listen and tune into the series. I also feel that CEOs who are thinking about adding the role of CPO, have not yet done that, or have just added it in and are still trying to figure out exactly what the role is, would learn an enormous amount from these very successful CPOs. Then, of course, anybody in product who aspires one day to be the CPO, we’ll get so much out of this series, I’m really excited about it, thrilled to be sharing their stories.”


Capgemini CPO

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Mighty Capital
Get to know Mighty Capital, headline sponsor for the 2021 Product Awards, and sponsor of Product Talk.

On Skillful CPOs Facilitating Change

Renee continues with the sneak peek of this year’s Global CPO 20 winners, which we will be announcing in early March. There are some common themes among the winners, with their skills, successes, and struggles.

“The one consistent attribute of our winners frankly surprised me. When we went into this journey, I was thinking, I’m gonna meet all these incredible visionaries, these high-powered, big, quick decision-makers. Yes, they’re all of that, but these are exceptional people with exceptional soft skills. They’re using these soft skills to facilitate the change. 

As you can imagine, when you’re going through this kind of change, it affects your team, it affects your peers, you can even imagine — heaven forbid — politics coming to the equation, these CPOs have the ability to navigate these really, really complicated issues with absolute ease. 

I’ll just give you an example. Everybody’s hearing about the great resignation and how challenging it is to hire and retain top product talent. One of the consistent things across all of the CPOs that I’ve interviewed, they are not having that problem. Why is that? One of the CPOs mentioned to me that well, Renee, people don’t quit companies, they quit managers. It’s my job to make sure that not only I am a good leader, but my leaders are good leaders. I invest an enormous amount of time and doing that. That’s just one little snapshot of the type of amazing people skills. …

Obviously, there are a lot of other consistent themes, such as every single one of them having metrics front and center. Everyone has very strong customer empathy. They’re all incredible visionaries, but that soft skill is the secret sauce that makes the good CPOs great.”

On Looking To The Future As CPOs

Chief Product Officers are product leaders because they are always thinking about the future. They are following trends, spotting the next big thing, and incorporating it into their teams and organizations. Renee shares what she has heard from the top CPOs.

“They really fall into a couple of different buckets. One is, growth, what’s going to be driving growth in the future? The other is are there ways to do what they’re doing more efficiently, with less resources and reduce costs. When I talk to the CPOs, most of them are, in the short term, really focused on optimizing their customer experience. Big data is still being wrangled down by the use of machine learning and AI. All of that is still front and center for the CPOs.

As they look for the future, the way that they think about developing products is really changing. That’s driven a lot by some of this new low-code, no-code tools. Even three years ago, there was most of the conversation was around, there are not enough software developers in the world. How are we going to keep up? By the way, we’re still in need of a lot of software developers, but now with these new tools, the CPO has that flexibility to really think about what is kind of core technology, aka platform work, and what kind of work can use these low-code, no-code tools to quickly iterate and get new features out the door with less technical talent. 

On the future side, there’s a lot of conversation, like mobility. Cloud really transformed these companies, and they’re right in the middle of the storm. What is that next transformation? There’s a lot of conversation around the metaverse on that one. What does that mean? How will that transform? How quickly, I don’t want to get caught off guard? I’ve had really interesting conversations around that.”

Join us for CPO Rising

Here at Products That Count, we are the premier source of information and discussion of all things CPO-related, allowing Chief Product Officers a place to grow, learn, and engage. We are offering resources, events and opportunities, and a chance to celebrate the role during the age of product. Sign up for a free membership today, and stay in the know about all things CPO.

About the speaker
SC Moatti Products That Count, CEO & Founder Administrator

Products That Count is the original and most influential product acceleration platform in the world. Almost 300,000 product managers globally read, watch, attend and listen to our 3,000+ free blog posts, videos, webinars and podcasts. C/VP-level product executives such as Netflix Product VP, Coinbase CPO, and Box CPO share best practices and raise their profile at our curated product salons, podcast show and mastermind circles. Leading brands such as Autodesk and Capital One join as corporate members to turn their product teams into a competitive advantage. Hyper-growth companies like Amplitude have generated 10X ROI from marketing partnerships. Learn more at productsthatcount.com

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