Throughout the previous few posts, I’ve discussed the process of building and sharing your product vision. In this post we’ll explore how product managers can get employees vested in the plan.
Reach Out to the Rank-and-File with Your Product Vision
Step back a moment and enjoy your recent weeks’ accomplishments. You’ve developed a solid product vision and shared it successfully with executives and thought leaders. Now it’s time to broaden your reach and get those who will be actively involved in executing your plans on board. One of the best ways for you to do this is by creating forums for sharing your product vision. Also be prepared to share any high-level support detail that you developed after meeting with customers.
Begin With the Team Leaders
In the influence map exercises we’ve discussed in an earlier post, you identified key people who were critical to your success. Now it’s time to circle back and meet with any team leaders who may not be aware of your plans. A good place to start is with any of your own team members who may not be aware of the plan. Bring these people up to speed then reach out to others in your organization. Some meetings will be one-on-one. At other times it will be appropriate to talk to an entire team or even a larger group at one time.
Engage Your Known Supporters
Think back to when you were sharing your vision with your company’s thought leaders. Who among them were your strongest supporters? Once you’ve identified those firmly behind your plans, enlist them to bring those in their operational area on board too.
It’s important to remember that not everyone will be solidly behind you. Some people are happy with the status quo. Others resist change. Be prepared to face a certain amount of resistance. Keep focused on your goal: to align as many people as possible behind your vision. Invite them to participate in making the vision a reality. The better your team understands where you’re leading them, the more support you will gain.
How Product Managers Should Handle Questions
Don’t dodge questions from employees or try to bluff your way through. As a product manager you’ve done a tremendous amount of research and consulted with customers, executives, and thought leaders. You’ve tried to think of every possible argument against your plan. If someone asks a question you haven’t considered, take the time to find the answer and then get back to this person after the meeting.
Accurately communicating your vision and getting the employees behind your plan is critical to success. With the help of those who share your vision, you’ll be able to win the support of many people across your organization. Ultimately, you are accountable for getting results. But you need others to ensure success.