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Why Most Product Management Programs Don't Work

Roughly four years ago, I decided to get a coach. I realized the importance of having someone who can be a sounding board, someone who challenges my thinking and gets me out of the way.

That’s what good coaching does for your career: Product Management and otherwise.

Most Product Management programs make a fundamental mistake: the emphasis of information over transformation.

I always ask people about what programs they have already done when they come to me and their impact on their careers. I have had over a thousand such conversations. I find that most programs are focused on handing out certificates rather than handing out real-life change. They end up being a waste of time and money.

A Product Management program should transform your mindset and your strategy. It should give you the tools to become great and give you a chance to put those tools into practice. A great program teaches you how to work in various scenarios and, most of all, how to enjoy your job and your life...

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8 New Trends in Product Management Jobs

 

At this point, I have helped hundreds of clients get jobs they are proud of. Not only are they proud of their jobs, but they are also proud of their lives and persons as a whole. 

Over the last few weeks, the market has made an enormous pivot! This pivot should be exciting!

If I could wish one thing for anyone reading this, it’s that you would take advantage of these trends. Because of this shift in the market, one of my clients went from never having held any formal product titles to a Director, PM job. There are growing opportunities for better jobs and, ultimately, better lives. 

Here are the eight new trends in product management jobs:

  1. The market is opening up across the board
  2. Senior roles are hiring at a level better than any time in the past year
  3. FAANG companies are picking up in hiring
  4. Remote work divergence across companies
  5. People can level up as they make their transitions
  6. More people are transitioning from non-product experiences to product...
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Why Working Too Much is Costing You Your Career

overwhelmed overworked Apr 06, 2021

The truth is that the stagnant product managers are often the ones who are working long hours. Meanwhile, the product managers that are making incredible progress are living more balanced lives. We should not be ignoring this correlation.

When we are working long hours, it begins weighing on us. Not only does it weigh on our careers, but in our personal lives as well. 

We start to feel unappreciated. (Why do we keep putting in all of this work for no recognition?)

We feel like we have no choice. (After all, we have already set a standard for working this way. It would be too hard to stop now, right?) 

Our peers are succeeding, but they must just be lucky. (we could be lucky too, but everything is working against us.)

Over time, our health declines. We worry and stress more. All facets of our lives are related to each other. Our health, sleep, how we interact with loved ones, and our happiness depend on our career satisfaction.

Here’s what happens when you work too...

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What To Do When You Feel Stuck in Your Career

stuck unhappy Mar 30, 2021

“I feel stuck in my career.”

Those are words that I constantly hear, especially when I speak to product managers. We all feel as though we are stuck at some point or another. The question to ask ourselves is, “what am I going to do about it?”.

A few of my clients have been in this situation as well. After working together to become unstuck, one of them landed a new role with a 30% increase in compensation. They all received more opportunities and expressed that they were happier in their positions.

When we feel stuck, we can get stuck in a mundane routine. We feel unappreciated. We think that we have no choice in our careers. We lose sleep, and our health can decline. Even the people and the circumstances surrounding us genuinely feel like they are all out to get us. 

BUT when we get unstuck, big things change. 

We get the right combination of flow and hustle. We get promotions and raises. We begin getting recognized for excellent work. Recruiters...

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Do You Sometimes Lack the Confidence to Take Charge?

confidence Mar 23, 2021

 

Most of us expect competent product managers to have all the confidence in the world. After all, what do they have to doubt themselves? They have all the knowledge, and they are good at what they do. However, this is not always the case. While many are solid and competent, they still lack confidence. 

Confidence is an essential factor in each of our lives and careers. One of my favorite clients to work with was severely lacking confidence. Once we built up his confidence, he grabbed an opportunity he had previously overlooked. Seizing this opportunity led to a promotion in just a few weeks.

Often, product managers know their product needs but do not have the confidence to fight for them. But, a product manager who maintains their competence and confidence does not need to struggle as much. Stakeholders notice them, and recruiters reach out to them. They are delighted with their work and happier in their lives.

 

Here are the keys to increasing your confidence:

  1. How...
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How To Manage Your Career Like A Product

communication confidence Mar 16, 2021

 

As a Product Manager and a coach, I have found one sad thing to be true - most Product Managers will do what others tell them to do and consistently avoid conversations related to their careers. They spend 100% of their energy managing their product and none on their career. The only time they are thinking about their career is when they are expressing anger or frustration.

My clients are happy in their careers. They are getting promoted faster than ever. Why? Because they have found extreme value in managing their career like a product. 

When you get this aspect wrong, you feel angry and frustrated. You do everything that is asked of you. You have no roadmap in sight and no career strategy to grasp onto. 

With that, I have one question - if you were the Product Manager of your career, would you be proud of how you run it? 

When we get this right, we get promotions and raises without fighting for them. Recruiters begin noticing you and reach out to you....

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5 Mistakes in Looking for a Product Manager Role

interviews Mar 11, 2021

 

Searching for new positions and the interviewing process in itself can be a grueling task. It can become mundane and joyless. It should not be this way. When we get it right, we can love the job search process, we can get over disappointments faster, and we can ultimately make more money and achieve higher levels in our careers.

These five mistakes can cost us a great deal. It can cost us the job that we love and even cause us to miss out on hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I have seen job seekers maker these mistakes repeatedly:

  1. Clicking the easy button
  2. They are treating job search as a check the box exercise vs. a design exercise.
  3. 100% focus on strategy, none on performance psychology
  4. Getting trapped in the framework
  5. Not getting feedback from the people that matter

A Product Manager I worked with was having difficulty with a lot of these. He and I began sifting through each of these mistakes and checked them off one by one. At the end of it all, he ended up in a...

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The Books That Influenced Me the Most in 2020

Uncategorized Jan 30, 2021

No doubt, 2020 was a crazy year.  However, for many people, it was also a year for growth.  When circumstances force you to adapt, you grow. Eight books, in particular, influenced my development quite a bit during this pandemic.

  1. Atomic Habits by James Clear: This book is really about making your habits stick. This book continues to be a massive influence for me, both in terms of the patterns that I build up for myself and coaching my clients.
  2. Indistractable by Nir Eyal: The book is all about avoiding distractions and staying focused. The challenge is not to blame the external stimuli. It's to look inward and figure out what is it that's driving you toward that external stimuli.
  3. The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks: This is about what he calls the upper limit problem, which we tend to have like a thermostat. We have a specific set level of happiness and success that we are willing to tolerate. Anything beyond that, and we sabotage ourselves.
  4. Building a StoryBrand by Donald...
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I Made This Spectacular Failure Once

Uncategorized Dec 23, 2020

Failure is a fantastic teacher.  Failure is also the way I came to start the Intentional Product Manager.  

A few years ago, I worked for this fast-moving Boston area startup, and I could see myself becoming established as a leading product manager there.  I wanted to build an amazing vision and strategy, and I tried many different avenues to get there.  Still, at the beginning of the first year, my performance was below expectations. I had not been able to contribute anything meaningful to my customers or learn anything about them. My failure was that I let my job run me instead of me running my job.

Ultimately, when I started to build my brand was when things began to change.  The key for me has been consistently redesigning every aspect of my job to enhance my personal brand, one step at a time.  Even if you have issues and challenges along the way, you’ll figure it out.  

Finally, seek out help when you need it. Even people at...

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You don't need "Three easy steps to become a Product Leader"

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2020

“Three easy steps to __ “ is very popular in the career and personal development space, indicating that if you do these three simple things, that part of your life will be easier for you. What you need to get your ideal PM role is not three easy steps; rather, three ingredients, which may not be as easy.

First, you need a bulletproof mindset. You have enough determination and confidence to get where you want to be, and you understand that you alone shape your future. In order to take the control that comes with assuming responsibility for your future, you must stop blaming your circumstances.  

Secondly, you need to focus on the action steps that will get you moving forward in your career.  You need to know what initiatives to work on, and where you can use improvement in your skills. 

Finally, you need a strong personal brand and visibility. You need to be the person people see as someone who deserves to get promoted. You also need people to see...

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