CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING
The right choices can make your company much more successful. The wrong choices will cost you profits, market share, and time—time you can’t recover while your competitors are moving ahead. And, you probably won’t know you have made a good or bad choice until you have been through one full “development cycle.”It is important to get this right on the first try.
You know what your competitors’ products look like now. Do you have a way to project what they are working on now for future introduction? This sounds impossible but, sometimes, it can be done. There are only a few variables or indicators involved and, if carefully analyzed, may have a significant impact on your success.
Learn to think more broadly than your product line profit margins. In your role as product manager, you can affect “operational profit” in more ways than you might think. Small changes can produce dramatic results. You and your team should be significant contributors to company profits beyond those directly generated by your product line gross margins.
You don’t have to be the Alpha in the room, or the most persuasive person in the company, to garner support from multiple functions—each with different skills, viewpoints, and personalities. If they want you to fail, they may have opportunities to make sure you do. Conversely, if they want you to succeed, they can likely help you get there.
Most of the challenges you face are the same or similar to those other product managers have faced in different companies and even different industries. Because “time” is probably your scarcest resource, it can be very advantageous to adopt practices (likely with modifications) that have worked for others. What worked for me at GE has also worked for many other companies (large and small) in unrelated businesses. Why not use them to your advantage?