Product Managers Need to Dictate What They Do

In the midst of the many possible activities for a product manager to prioritize, above all, you must keep yourself in situations where you dictate what you and your team do. This entails spending the time to think deeply about the vision and strategy for evolving your product, and socializing your plan with management and your team so that they are fully bought in, understand what you’re doing, and trust you to execute it. This takes quite a bit of time and focus.

When I say “dictate what you do,” it should not imply that you are closed to ideas from team members and unresponsive to directives from management. Instead, openness to input from others is a crucial ingredient in developing an optimal strategy. However, you must be the clear owner of your product; the primary synthesizer, filterer, and communicator of ideas pertaining to the strategy. When you do what’s necessary to maintain this state (which is an ongoing effort), all other prioritization unfolds naturally based on the tactics of applying your strategy and the roles of other team members.

The primary difference I’ve seen between product managers who thrive versus those who struggle is whether they dictate what they do. Those who do not, end up on a treadmill of executing other people’s projects that lack sufficient unity and direction to make meaningful impact.

This post appeared originally on Quora.

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