Don’t debate the debaters, but instead, influence the influencers.
Product managers are leaders and influencers of features, ideas, and epic tasks. Some have direct and backed authority, many others have variants that are partial or merely implicit. Either way, to achieve the greatest success, do you rule with force? Or influence, and guide, and allow for shared discovery in support of your product’s end goals?
When your designer says “no”… how do you get them to “yes”? Let’s look at this challenge with respect to a few designer types that many of us have had the pleasure and privilege of working with.
This week, let’s take a look at…
The Standard Bearer
The Mixologist may lack vision or a good stream of resources. No problem.
Influence the sources. If the sources are blogs, suggest other blogs more inline with your desired approaches. If the sources are people, work with them, share your vision, share your perspectives, recommendations, creativity, logic and reasoning. Build relationships and foster broad support from below. Tread lightly here; you do not want to offend The Mixologist by overstepping or allowing any of your relationship building to be construed as anything threatening.
When The Mixologist is aligned with your goals and proposing ideas you have pitched and sought, get your ego out of the way… #1 is always to achieve the business objective. And, if you have built sound relationships, the right people will know where the credit truly belongs. Oh yeah… and frequent lunches with The Mixologist help too.
The Standard Bearer
“Standards are great, because there are so many to choose from.”
There are a ton of standards out there. For every standard, there is another competing one. Identify the competition, share it around the organization. Build support for the new standard, or at least for a willingness to experiment with it. Let those new supporters become the advocates of the new thinking. Foster an environment where multiple ideas, multiple standards can co-exist and compete on objective measures. Encourage and reward the experimentation with competing standards as well as non-standard concepts. Standards are great; they can always be improved.
Designers are people, too.
Yep. And, they too, do not often fit a simple character description. Most designers are a mix of traits, some potentially described here.
Generally speaking, the best influencer, the one to really buddy up to, is statistics– they can often be your best influencer and supporter in most cases. Collect the data, find the data, and introduce the data (“your key influencer”) to your designer and together understand it, explore it, and challenge yourselves to build upon it.
Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing various examples and approaches in wielding strategic influence as a successful product manager.
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The Product Guy