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Accountability requires humility

A big area of improvement for any product manager is demonstrating that they can be more accountable for a larger and larger scope.

First I think demonstrating that you can properly own a product is hard enough. Customer development, documentation, was it the right feature, should we kill it. All of these are not easy to get right.

Then add building and selling a road map to the mix. Vision statements, frameworks in which to make decisions, making long term bets. That doesn’t make it any easier. And you have to keep getting better at the first set of things.

And now, it’s all about doing the above  while putting together a series of large bets. Based on market analysis, competitive analysis, willingness to pay from the customer, intuition about what’s next, and how willing you are to fire your present to invest in your future.

The only way to do it is to admit you don’t know what you’re doing, and start to climb.

But I think that realizing that humility comes with this climb is something people forget. Humility to say, “I did that wrong. I own it. Let’s try again”. Humility to admit, “I don’t know what that is or how to do it. How can we figure it out?”.

I think companies need it as they grow up. People need it as they advance in their careers, and paths in life.

I also think it’s rare to see, hard to appreciate, and oftentimes a victim of finger pointing, and infighting.

So the question I need to solve is how do I create a culture of accountability (not hard) with humility (very hard)?

I’d love any ideas because I’m pretty close to all out.

Published in Becoming a PM

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