Is it Time to Empty the Trash?

When I was a kid, I was excited for trash day. I wanted to be a garbage collector. No, make that a garbage man. Each week when the city services would roll down our street, I would follow the truck and its process of collection from one end to other. I recall the size of the truck, the sounds of hydraulics, the banging of metal cans, the movement of debris, and the fluid motion of men and machine that was surrounded by the crushing pressure and associated smells that made it to the curbside.

While I can recall the sounds, images and smells of trash day, I was constantly reminded by my parents that our trash needed to be emptied and taken to the street.

As product leaders do we get caught up in the sounds, images and smells associated with leading products and forget to empty our own trash?

In a recent post entitled, “4 Key Skills Leaders Must Develop to Succeed in Today’s Workplace,” Art Petty shares, “The ability to assess and respond appropriately in varying situations is a derailment factor for too many.” Why? It’s my opinion that we often derail ourselves because we’re buried in the mounds of crap we collect and never get rid of.

As a product leaders, what do you need to discard and take to the curb?

From time to time I have to remind myself or be reminded (from others) that to be successful as a product leader, I should constantly take inventory of my skills, experience, accomplishments, goals and gaps and then replace outdated or trivial things with those attributes that allow me to respond better.

If you haven’t taken time to stop and take a personal inventory of yourself, you should. To start emptying the trash, here’s a few questions to consider that should assist in identifying things to cast off.

  • What’s working well and what’s not
  • What areas of product leadership do I excel,  where do I fall short
  • Where do I contribute and where do I need to improve
  • What areas of product leadership do I find comfortable, and challenging
  • What changes will increase my value
  • What areas should I focus that really matter
  • What skills or experience do I need to acquire

When we actively assess our capabilities and surface those items should be dropped off at the curb, product management and product marketing will find decisions come with clarity and not clutter.

Finally, as product leaders, we have a responsibility to support, build and contribute our experiences with others. Are you actively reusing and recycling your product management or product marketing experiences with others?

As always, I welcome your comments, insights and experiences. If you like the post, please tweet this on Twitter.

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  • Geoffrey Anderson  On March 2, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Once again you have masterful use of metaphors that segue into insightful tips.

    I have printed your list to post by my workstation, so that I can refer to it. In the hustle of a typical product leader’s life, it is far too easy to neglect the reflection that you refer to, and the stock taking of you inventory of skills, and accurately addressing where you can improve.

    Thanks for sharing!


  • By Pro Blogger News on March 2, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Is It Time To Empty The Trash…

    […]By Product Management Tribe Leave a Coment. Categories: Uncategorized. When I was a kid, I was excited for trash[…]…

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