Seek engagement from your office community to sell your views



You’re the one who will tell people what should be built and why. So why was it so tough to get engagement from the technical teams? Because people need to buy into your vision and engineers should understand the ‘why’ behind their work and how it relates back to delivering customer value.

Nothing creates greater misalignment in an organization and slows execution speed than a conflict of vision and values. In the end, no buy-in leads to no delivery.

Listening is about leading with your ears instead of your mouth

A common mistake is to declare that you’re the “CEO" of the product. That stance leads product managers to anchor too heavily on their own vantage point, insufficiently adjusting to others’ perspective. The fact is, one learns far more from listening than talking. The true role of a product manager is to listen, respect and create space for others to have a place where they can express their individual genius in service to something larger than themselves. Assume that you’re not the almighty "product CEO" -- you’re leading a community of contributors by listening to elicit their goals and then framing what the product should do in that context.

How frequently do you interface with team members to ensure that the best ideas are heard?

Interacting with various departments in a company selling your views isn’t influencing per se. Seek to understand before you seek to be understood. Get curious about what you don’t know. Ask questions to ensure your understanding of their perspective. Your task as a manager is to help keep your office community focused and one of the most effective ways to do so is to integrate their feedback to let them know they are being listened to. Use it to uncover challenges and then frame it so it creates customer value. Letting your colleagues know through tangible actions that their opinion, direction, and feedback matter is the central attribute in selling your views.

Create a business viable vision

Finally, what you are in charge of is mapping out the steps that your team is going to take to fulfill your product vision. Who’s to say that team members and the CEO understand how the product will benefit the organization in the next three years? You are surrounded by people smarter than you, and you should be willing to listen to them, not dictate to them. Where can communication be improved? It’s clearly imperative that “roadmap planning" meetings get used to asking questions, see what the problem really is and get input on elements that can produce results for customers. Those sessions can help both team members and you clarify where you are and where you should be going.

By giving respect you'll get buy-in and even more get results from your office community in a way that will help you deliver growth. Moreover, framing a problem collectively leads to alignment and execution speed.