I read an article over the weekend how a local dog owner paired his prized, but aging Lab with a new retriever puppy. Now, I’m not a hunter nor a dog trainer, but recognize the leadership qualities that can be applied to product management from the example in the article.
In the article, Jim Martin states, “An older dog can put you well ahead of the game in teaching a pup.” “He has seen his older dog teach his young dog how to mark birds, retrieve and even stand up on its hind legs to pick up scent.”
As a senior product manager, do you offer your experiences in how to “mark, retrieve and pick up the scent” of product management activities to new or inexperienced product managers?
If you’ve been with a company for some time, you should understand the goals of the company (picked up the scent), what’s expected and how product management executes with precision (mark and retrieve). When you offer your experiences to someone else, you’ll be surprised what you might learn.
Some years ago, I was working with a young product management team. One person was classically trained and another had been a sales engineer and in professional services before transitioning into product management. While I was senior to both, I learned a great deal about operational metrics from one and innovative market discovery techniques from the other.
As a product management leader, do you assess and know the capabilities of each of your product manager both young and older? Do you know their strengths and challenges and who has the best skills and capabilities to partner with a “young pup”? If not, you need to establish a regular plan of understanding where you identify, review and measure the success of each person and their capabilities.
In the article, the writer shared, “Of course, you have to watch everything the old dog teaches the pup.” As a product management leader have you observed the knowledge, actions, methods and implementation of the experienced members of your team, or do you “hope or trust” they know what they are doing?
Product management leadership is an active, engaging role that’s not all about the tactical implementation of activities or the strategic execution of methods. It’s about establishing expectations with your team, orchestrating and aligning skills to manage key processes, monitoring and communicating success and evolving the skills of your team using the talents and experience of the “old dogs and young pups.”
I encourage you as I do myself to continuously review yourself, your team and the expectations of the company. By doing so, you’ll find there’s a wealth of capability and success.