In this webinar, we dig into the various types of interactions and strategies that can help you improve on the people part of product. Jason Wisdom, Co-Founder of the Design Gym, admitted that many of the lessons he’d learned for managing the people part of product came from Pixar movies and therapy. 

On why the people part of product is even more important in difficult times

Right now, we’re all facing a global pandemic. However, there will always be challenges we’ll face, and focusing on the people part of product will be important during those times.

“The conversations that I’ve been having with peers and friends and with colleagues where there’s a lot of things that are changing right now. And I’m not finding it to be like the technical aspects of the ways in which we’re building products. It seems to be much more on the human side of all of this. 

So, how are we working and working through, you know, the feelings of isolation and these sorts of moments? I think all of us are on edge, at moments teetering on a bit of depression, if we’re going to be honest about it. And trying to figure out, how do we show up as our best selves for ourselves? Let alone, how we actually do that for each other?”

It all starts with YOU

When it comes to the people part of product, the first person to consider is yourself.

“Over the past two to three years, I’ve invested a ton of time in figuring out how do I become more comfortable and more open in telling my stories, both internally and externally. As we’re looking for ways in which we can engage with other people emotionally, if we haven’t done the work ourselves, and if we haven’t figured out our own baggage and our own things that we’re struggling with, and coming to a place to be able to acknowledge that work, then the rest of it is frickin impossible.”

Leadership Needs to Be a Part of the Process

For Jason and his business partner, the dialogue needed to start at the top with them.

“It was standing meeting on Monday mornings and called it Uncomfortable Conversations. And it was an hour between the two of us. It started off with us both just rolling in with our list of all this shit and all of the reasons why the other person had wronged us over the course of the last week and how they jumped in on our call right as we’re about to say something ingenious and completely ruin the wrong things. 

It’s this idea of just coming in with a list of grievances and just being able to share this. And it created a space where, honestly, for some ridiculous reason, we’re both excited to roll into this meeting. It was something that kind of gave us both joy, in part, because I think we were excited by the insight. After getting past the idea of feeling offended and feeling slightly hurt, we came to realize that there was a hell of a lot of learnings that started to happen.”

Know What Your People Are Interested In

When it comes to the people part of product, great product leaders remember to focus on the personal side of your employees and not just the professional one. 

“When people know you’re willing to listen, they don’t need to shout to be heard. And I think that that’s something that we’ve really proactively done a good job of focusing on.

Growth plans actually don’t just have to do with people’s roles and what they want specifically to be able to do their jobs better. It has to do with their entire perspective surrounding the rest of their life, and all the things that they’re hoping to and looking to achieve.”

Many thanks to our partners at Vonage and Amplitude for sponsoring this great presentation.

About the speaker
Jason Wisdom The Design Gym, Co-founder and President Member

As a Co-founder and President of The Design Gym, Jason Wisdom has spent the last 8 years of his career coaching leaders and designing experiences that support greater human understanding. From redesigning global sales processes to focus on trust building, to pushing mental health into product roadmapping, Jason lives to connect the dots between supporting social needs and driving business metrics.

About the host
Steven Abrahams Microsoft, Partnerships for Teams in Education

I believe in our ability as humans to solve problems in creative and simple ways. I’ve had the good fortune to work on and with some of the brightest and most creative teams and people in various roles in product development. These experiences have enriched me personally and I carry them with me to every new challenge. I like big problems that have beautiful and simple solutions. I’ve worked on financial products for people of fixed income, products that bridge humans across the planet in moments of their greatest need to connect as well as tools that disambiguate, equalize and democratize access to data and content. The companies I’ve worked with range from startups to large public companies where chiefly my role has been about unlocking and connecting customer unmet needs to the people engineering and designing the products. I enjoy playing many roles and leverage the tools and resources at hand to bring products to market. I’ve direct experience when and how to deploy artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other advanced cognitive services. My patents cover areas in video and conversational interfaces, platform extensibility, mobile applications, and large scale software. Following to be read by computers, not humans: Interests include: Human rights, feminism. food and farming sustainability, Non-Profits, product management, information retrieval, UX Design, future-of-work, artificial intelligence, machine learning, communications, virtual assistants, digital media, branding.

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