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Culture-Driven Leadership is Product Management

ronke article

Table of Contents

Product management revolves around human needs, wants, and desires, making it a humbling responsibility. Influential product leaders manage their teams with well-being in mind, necessitating culture-driven leadership. Culture-driven product leaders mold and develop a culture where if one person fails, we all fail. They nurture a community where everyone is supported. They lead their teams from within them, not above them.

Despite being a relatively young discipline, product management is in the age of the product manager. We need product leaders who will lead through uncertainties with a calm, steady hand, leaders who recognize that while there is no perfect solution to the challenges they face daily, they are filled with aspirations, ideas, and ideals without preeminence. They use assuredness, certainty, and inspiration to galvanize their scrum team, direct reports, colleagues, cross-functional team, and leadership. 

Culture-driven product leaders build people and products; they acutely understand the significance of creating a culture of cross-functional deference through culture-driven leadership. At their heart, culture-driven product leaders have a shared promise: their organization's core values, mission, and vision.

These leaders believe in cultivating a culture encompassing diversity, inclusion, belonging, and intellectual fortitude. Furthermore, they have a clear product vision that culminates in building products that improve their customers' lives, and sometimes, those products may impact humanity as a whole.

What does culture-driven leadership mean?

Culture-driven leadership denotes culture-driven product leaders who lead with cause and purpose. These leaders are passionate and curious, which inspires their teams and motivates the entire organization to support their product vision and strategy.

These leaders recognize that the people they work with should come first. They invest in them by nurturing their development and growth while ensuring they are recognized before they are. Essentially, they build a community around our cross-functional and partner teams where the connective tissue is their organization's core value, mission, and vision. 

The importance of culture-driven leadership in product management 

We need product leaders who are culture-driven because they can enthuse, galvanize, and inspire the people around them to join together to find solutions to real-world problems that will impact the lives of their customers for the better.

Culture-driven product leaders can get the entire organization to pull and advocate for their product vision and objectives by evangelizing their organization's core values, mission, and vision. This common language binds all employees together. This is where the love of their products comes from.

Culture-driven product leaders foster an environment where multi-functional teams, direct reports, and colleagues uplift each other to higher levels of integrity, encouragement, and inspiration. They look out for each other and challenge and support each other during the good and difficult times.

Their ethos is if one of us fails, we all fail. Therefore, we all need to help each other be successful. This focus on well-being and holistic success is a driving force to accomplishing what was once deemed impossible. Culture-driven product leaders construct, foster, nurture, and encourage diverse, inclusive, innovative, and people-centric cultures by molding and developing an environment with a sense of responsibility and purpose.  

They communicate clear product vision.

Culture-driven product leaders recognize that for their organization's product strategy and vision to be transformative, they must communicate it through storytelling. Moreover, the story must travel quickly, be compelling, contain empathy, and have a clear narrative structure with a beginning, middle, and end. Additionally, cross-functional partners—whether in engineering, design, technical support, customer success, marketing, or sales—must be able to retell the story, convey how their product differentiates, and address real-world, consequential customer problems. Essentially, they show how customers become heroes in their own companies by using the product to solve an existing problem.

For the story to reach further, these product leaders evangelize to the whole organization the comprehensive, full-spectrum, and in-depth mission of their product, its ambitions, and objectives. These leaders succinctly demonstrate where their product aims to go and what it hopes to achieve in the short and long term. They offer transparency in all decisions and show how their product vision and roadmap align with the company's core values.

They advocate for a culture of intellectual fortitude

Culture-driven product leaders foster a culture of intellectual boldness and fearlessness. They provide a supportive, safe environment where team members can hold different opinions, engage in disagreements, and challenge the status quo rather than accept things as they have always been.

These leaders cultivate and sustain an environment of scholarly bravery. As a result, they foster individuals with unrestricted creativity to be innovative and imaginative. This enables them to build products and services that meet their customers where they are and solve problems that customers haven’t yet articulated or verbalized.

Final Thoughts 

Technology is changing rapidly, and we need to build new, innovative products for all communities. As product leaders, we are filled with profound gratitude and great humility because we go to work every day and lead our partner teams, shaping the future of our customers and our organization due to the trust that has been imparted to us. We appreciate and recognize that we are in a defining moment with an enormous opportunity to make an everlasting impact with our organization's core values, mission, and vision as our covenant.

As product leaders, we share a belief that we must not leave any community behind; instead, we must build products, solutions, and services for every community. It is that promise, that sacred cause, that puts us in a unique position to move our cross-functional partners, direct reports, leadership, and our entire organization to make the impossible possible by creating and building products that will add value not just to our customers but to other people’s lives and, in some cases, provide opportunities that will change their lives for the better. We can achieve these aspirations through the embodiment and practice of culture-driven leadership.

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