Product Culture: Making it your own

What seems missing in all the writing about product culture

Hundreds of product leaders have written articles about how to build a strong product culture, but there are very few examples of failures. To really understand what it takes, we need to learn from successes as well as failures. In that vein, I’d like to share an example from my own experience.

  1. They sharpen their recruiting to attract product managers that thrive in their specific environment. Hiring a really creative product manager to work under intense deadlines or cost pressures is unlikely to be a good match. Conversely, hiring a planning-oriented product manager for an organization that spends a lot of time ideating is going to drive that person crazy.
  2. They look to their teams to gauge whether each of their product managers can adapt their style to the unique dynamics of the business and industry. If not, then leaders must be willing to proactively coach and mentor their people. If that doesn’t work, then strong product leaders also care enough about their people to be candid with them about their future potential.
  3. And finally, strong product leaders take special care of the misfits. They serve an important role in challenging the status quo and identifying the organization’s blind spots. But, life for those people is tough, so they need constant acknowledgment of the value they provide.

Founder, KaiPod Learning. Dabble in educ investing. Passion for turning ed into outcomes. Former teacher, principal, consultant & coder.