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Shark Week is every week in Product Management

I love SHARKS! They are fascinating creatures and are often misunderstood and maligned. This week is one of my favorite times of the year. The Discovery Channel runs all types of shark programming featured as SHARK WEEK. There’s analysis, interviews, conjecture, conversations, education, entertainment and amazing film footage that makes you rethink a day at the beach. 

What do sharks and product management have in common? While we may think that sharks swim in other areas of your organizations, sharks can teach us a lot about our profession.

Inquisitive – Unless you’re own the menu, shark attacks occur more often out of curiosity or mistaken identity than anything else. As product management or product marketing are you inquisitive and willing to step outside of your comfort zone and the office to really understand customer problems and their needs? 

While we all know it’s important to get out of the office and connect with customers and the market, do you possess an inquisitive nature that will push you out the door?

In his post Explore your curiosity, Jeff Lash shares, “If you want to be a good product manager, be curious. Product managers need to have a genuine interest in learning more about the market, customer needs, new technologies, and other trends. It’s not a question of whether or if these will impact your product, it’s a question of when. Product managers need to constantly be learning, adapting, and evolving. They need to keep current with changes in everything from society and government to technology and innovation.”

Adaptable – A few years ago, Shark Week featured a segment on Great White sharks that become airborne in pursuit of it prey. Like great white sharks, product professionals have to be adaptable. Are you adaptable to change and willing to take on new responsibilities, projects, innovation ideas and willing to look beyond your title or role? It’s my opinion that product management and product marketing has to maintain an adaptable, start-up mentality, no matter how large the organization.

In the article, How to maintain a start-up mentality as your business grows” by Jennifer Wang, she shares, “Start-ups are often spearheaded by individuals who have experienced a common problem and have come up with a solution that is meaningful to themselves and their customers. The founders and initial employees are in-tune with customers and can nimbly respond to changing customer needs.” Are you the adaptable, nimble and in-tune product professional?

Hungry – While most people think all sharks eat non-stop, each variety has it’s own preference of how, what, where and when it consumes. Product management and product marketing should be the same. We don’t all learn the same, implement the same best practices at the same time, use the same methods or have the same roles and responsibilities. However, when you have the appetite or hunger to continuously improve, extend and expand, you’ll find that new opportunities and activities to satisfy your hunger will be there. When was the last time you woke up in the middle of the night with a great idea on how to improve product management and product marketing in your organization? Are you hungry?

Product professionals must maintain a few shark-like qualities including being inquisitive, adaptive and hungry. While Shark Week may be over in seven days, product management and product marketing will be here next week and next year only if you evolve with your organization.

If you can think of a few more shark-like qualities that product management and product marketing should possess, please share them. If you like the post, please share it with the following link. Shark Week is every week in Product Management – a new post by @jim_holland http://wp.me/pXBON-2NJ #prodmgmt #prodmktg #leadership