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How to Elevate Your Status at Work + Continuous Product Discovery Masterclass video course is live! 🚀😊
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It was a tough week for me. Before we go further, I’d like to thank the people who helped me the most in recent days:
- - thanks, man, for helping me with my website
- - thanks Marta, for your feedback about the course
- - thanks, Paul, for your feedback about the course
- - special thank you so much, Modekurty, for your feedback
In Today’s newsletter:
Free: How to elevate your status at work
Free: Continuous Product Discovery Introduction
1. How to Elevate Your Status at Work
Many product managers I talk to perfectly understand what product management is about and see the flows of other organizations.
But they struggle to influence others. And their status at work doesn't correspond to their potential.
Here are 5 tactics you can use to fix that situation:
1.1 Understand your business
If you want to talk with the CEO, Head of Marketing, or Head of Sales as a partner, you must step outside your core product team and see the bigger picture.
First, make sure you understand the strategy of your organization. One way to analyze it is The Product Strategy Canvas. All your initiatives, decisions, and actions should be aligned with it.
It's also essential to understand how you make money, your cost structure and revenue streams.
90% of business outcomes top executives care about are related to costs, savings, revenue, business risk, and churn. Learn to talk their language.
Another critical aspect is understanding the organizational structure, dependencies between departments, and the distribution of power and interests in the organization. Personal goals, ambitions, fears, and pains of key stakeholders included.
Finally, make friends with people from other departments and understand what their work is about. Understand the key pains related to the work they would like to solve.
Become their partner, and a person who can connect them by sharing insights across the organisation.
In particular, focus on those departments:
Product Marketers are responsible not only for marketing campaigns but also, even more importantly, for creating consistent, compelling messaging, introducing the product to the market, and training and enabling sales (e.g., by preparing sales materials).
Ensure you understand the customer's needs, market trends, and the characteristics of the target audience in the same way.
For an existing product, analyze the front of the funnel and the corresponding metrics. How are leads generated? What are the traffic sources? How effective is each marketing channel in terms of cost and volume?
Understand their core processes. What sources do they get leads from (product, marketing, cold calls)? How is their work organized? How are accounts split (for example, depending on the industry, country, or the size of the organization)?
I encourage you to regularly shadow sales calls and presentations.
c. Customer Success
Understand what the common issues are that customers face. How are they registered, tracked, and resolved?
It might be a good idea to participate in customer success meetings or calls once in a while. This will give you a hands-on experience of their daily challenges.
Setting product pricing typically falls on Product Managers or Product Marketers, but it's often a cross-functional decision that also involves Sales, Finance, and Executives.
In any case, understand the pricing strategy (and the WHY behind it) and key Revenue metrics. How have they changed over time? How do they differ depending on the customer segment?
1.2 Manage up
In most cases, your direct manager is your most important stakeholder. Manage them accordingly:
Build a personal relationship: Get to know her as an individual. Understand her background, interests, personal goals, and values. Share information about yourself so she can know “the real you” and can trust you more easily.
Demonstrate you care: Invest time in understanding her professional goals. Make sure she feels you aim to help her achieve them. Keep referring to those goals repeatedly as you communicate with her.
Communicate proactively: A great, simple tactic is providing regular updates. For example, you can send her a short email or a Slack message with a summary every week. This is invaluable for a manager. And so few people do it without being asked.
Become a problem-solver: When encountering an issue, try to communicate it with a solution. You want to be seen as a problem-solver who adds value, not just another source of problems.
Take key initiatives: You don’t want to take every initiative. But you must identify and actively participate in the most important ones, like a new product analytics platform, pricing strategy review, or a presentation for executives. When signing up as a volunteer, consider Impact vs. Effort, just like you can do it for a product. Free template (Miro): https://miro.com/templates/impact-effort-matrix/
Manage expectations: Finally, never communicate problems and risks too late. Hidden issues worsen over time. It's better to be honest upfront about what’s possible and what could go wrong than to disappoint later on.
1.3 Manage your stakeholders
The same tactics can be applied to your other stakeholders.
But before investing your time, consider their power and influence. Not every stakeholder is equal. Free template: Stakeholders Map.pptx
You might want to:
Approach the most powerful and influential stakeholders individually. Adjust the tone and style of your communication. Keep them informed and satisfied.
Provide other stakeholders with regular updates. One way might be organizing a dedicated Teams or Slack channel and inviting them to participate. I also like organizing open-door sessions regularly so everyone interested can understand the status and ask their questions.
1.4 Prepare for the most important meetings
Not every meeting let you shine. But for the most important ones, like a monthly update or a new key initiative:
Study the agenda before the meeting.
Contact the presenter and ask for clarification.
Prepare questions, insights, and ideas you might want to present beforehand.
If you are a presenter, use the SCQA formula. Free brochure: How to nail an exec presentation and be noticed.pdf
1.5 Act with confidence
Finally, while being respectful, start talking to all stakeholders like equal to equal (please consider your specific culture). For example:
Don’t hesitate to contact a person, even the CEO, when you need.
Share your constructive feedback respectfully and openly.
Set a tone during day-to-day interactions. For example, when you see the CFO, say hello warmly and professionally, just as you would greet any colleague or start a small talk in the kitchen.
While these tactics can be beneficial, it's crucial to be authentic. The goal is not to manipulate others but to unleash your full potential and foster positive change within your organization.
2. Continuous Product Discovery Introduction
I just finished a Continuous Product Discovery self-paced video course. All premium subscribers can get free access.
Even if you are not a premium subscriber, you can benefit from a shorter version - Continuous Product Discovery Introduction.
Let’s get into it right now.
2.1 In case you don’t know me
2.2 Why do we need Product Discovery?
From this video, you will learn:
The problem with new ideas.
Five risk areas product managers should be aware of.
Why learning by delivering is not a good idea.
Why do we need Product Discovery?
2.3 Continuous Product Discovery Introduction
From this video, you will learn:
Dual Track Agile and Continuous Product Discovery.
What is the Product Trio, and why does it matter?
Design Thinking and Continuous Product Discovery.
2.4 Opportunity Solution Tree
From this video, you will learn about Opportunity Solution Tree, as defined by Teresa Torres.
2.5 Get access to the full course
Continuous Product Discovery Masterclass is a self-paced video course. Premium subscribers can access it for free.
Combine top product discovery techniques: Opportunity Solution Tree, Opportunity Score, and Strategyzer cards (©Paweł Huryn).
Access a dedicated Notion template to implement Continuous Product Discovery in your organization easily.
Get a digital, verifiable credential (example) you can easily demonstrate after passing the exam.
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Take care, Paweł