You’re A Hammer

My dad used to have a framing hammer that he called his “persuader”. As a carpenter, you can bend pretty much any board or nail to your will with a good hammer and a little elbow grease. Somewhat similarly, as a PM, your chief stock in trade is influence. You live and you die based on your ability to convince other people to do what you need them to do for the good of the product. Persuasion is an art form that relies on your ability to communicate a passion for your cause, to cunningly blend data with argument, fact with opinion, logic with emotion. Pragmatically this means being able to write crisply, sometimes forcefully, and means speaking with grace and authority. 

To influence you need to have gained people’s trust and respect. You need to exude both confidence and humility when called for. You need to be able to turn “no” (everyone’s default answer) into “yes” (to which people need to be given a reason to arrive at). More generally, you need to be the force that makes things happen. You don’t let people equivocate; you make people commit to a clear position and establish course of action. You drive to resolution. You don’t let loose ends stay loose and you prevent things from falling through cracks. You are the propellant that pushes through all opposition and ultimately gets the product shipped. As a mentor once told me “the single most important feature you need to focus on is shipping”. To this end, as PM you are the swinging hammer that builds.

#hammer #building #focus #productmanager #authority 

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