In recent posts, I’ve shared how the Product Manager position is anything but isolated. You must build relationships with people throughout your organization in order to get the cooperation you need to perform your job well. Today’s blog post will clarify some of the nuances of building consensus that will add to your success.
Many challenges you face in product management require you to interface with other departments. Solving problems completely within your primary team is simply not a possibility.
It is important when you seek out the help of other departments that you understand each team’s frame of reference. If you want them to invest their time in helping you meet a challenge, it helps if you can simultaneously help them meet one of their objectives. Self-interest is a powerful motivator, even with teams.
Complex challenges you face often require you to form a special team that draws players from multiple departments and various levels in your organization. Your ability to appeal to others and gain their support of the new team is critical.
Consensus Building for Product Managers Defined
Consensus is at its core a form of decision-making that occurs when team members agree on a course of action to resolve a shared problem. Consensus is powerful because while some on the team may exert influence over a decision, the final decision isn’t based on the power inherent in any one person’s position – this includes the CEO, product manager and any one else on the team. By not allowing the exertion of position power, you avoid causing others on the team to feel like a course of action is being rammed down their throats. If you want the team members to support decisions made, everyone needs to feel they have been heard and hold a personal stake in the chosen course.
The Product Manager as Facilitator
Since your role as Product Manager requires you to maintain healthy relationships with many different functional areas in your company, you are likely to be called upon to serve as facilitator of the new specially formed team. Your success in this role demands that you not allow your personal biases to influence decisions too heavily. As facilitator you are responsible for making sure every voice is heard.
Next week I will follow up on this topic by digging deep into other activities that will help you succeed as a product manager.