“Alpha to Charlie, Alpha to Charlie, come in, Over”
“Charlie to Alpha, listening, Over”
“Charlie, the enemy has covered us from all the sides, do we Fall BACK? Over”
“Good Idea Alpha, let’s abandon the commander and the crew, Over”
“Alpha to Charlie, Mission Abort, I repeat Mission Abort! Over”
“Falling Back Alpha, Over and Out!”
This is how I picture the conversation in my mind when I see two pale faces in the Cafeteria trying to have an intense conversation to figure out how they are supposed to deal with their targets this month. You know, the reason I feel the world leaders are gaga over Automation right now is because, it is human nature to choose a convenient option rather than a complex one to reach to a destination.
Everyone with a tag of a manager, or a head, or a leader will agree that the toughest and the most unpredictable part of their Job description is “the People they have to deal with”. One cannot hardwire people to respond to their commands, a bunch of people cannot be integrated with one another to establish a seamless flow of information. It is a skill that one needs to master, to align an individual’s vision with the company vision.
And mastering the skill is inevitable. Because, it is the people who take things as a challenge when a machine shows Error 404, it is the people who manages your customers and convert your target audience into a Loyal set of Customers. To put it in simple words, “It is not sail, but the sailor who sails the ship out of the storm”.
There are endless blogs written on the similar lines, there are courses that are designed for the same! I don’t have any hidden treasure or a gimmick to solve this puzzle, but I have some experiences and exercises that I share that will help you manage the Human Capital.
Never Dominate your Sub-ordinate
Roadmaps are stories and product managers, the storyteller… Translate challenging concepts with powerful story telling. Becoming a leader is like implementing The Pull Strategy, motivate the customers (Sub-Ordinates) to actively seek out a specific product from manufacturer (Project Manager) that has a strong and visible brand.
You need not be a part of the Centre of Excellence (CoE) they need to solve their problems, but you need to be the Point of Contact to discuss their grievances of the work. Become the therapist from whom they could take advice. When you become the part of the team rather them being the head of the team, the people will always be on their feet to happily walk the extra mile to fulfill your vision.
Let everyone be the Leader (LITERALLY!)
There is one practice that has become a recent favorite of all the successful Top-level executives. I call this practice, “If I were a _______”. Yup, this sounds nostalgic, but here you don’t ask your employees to write an essay on the same, you allow them to take the role of their desire for a day and let them have full authority.
There are two benefits of doing the same, one, they would become aware that “With Great Power comes GREAT responsibility” and they would know what you go through to keep the team intact.
Establish the Product Culture
It is not essential every leader must become the epitome of success and be the perfectionist that everyone looks forward to. Instead, a good manager is the one who is “a Jack of All, rather than being the master of one.”
You need to set a culture in an organization where people are aligned with the vision of the company and they take personal interest in the sustainable growth. To do that, you need to understand the nature of the people you are working with, prompt them to share their goals and visions and then align their vision with the vision of the organization.
On a parting note, I would like to say that the role of a Product Manager is basically to reversely apply the age-old advice of Steve Blank, “Get out of the Building”. A manager must “Get in the Building”, understand the people working there, make them understand the vision of the product, establish a culture of harmony and unanimity and execute goals set by the top-level execs.
“It’s easier to make things people want, than it is to make people want things. “
~ Des Traynor