This week, Mind the Product and Pendo engaged attended Web Summit 2023, engaging with some of the foremost minds in product and technology. Here’s a glimpse into the great conversations on leadership that we involved ourselves in this week.
Leadership, a linchpin in the realm of product management, unfolded as a central theme during our conversations at Web Summit 2023. Here are some of our key takeaways gains from great discussions with leaders shaping products and businesses.
Establish a mission whilst forming a tribe
Adriana Hoppenbrouwer-Pereira, Co-Founder and CPO at The Fabricant, shared with us profound insights on growing and leading products, especially in uncharted territories. “Being a disruptor in a new industry is a double challenge. It’s like you’re building the plane and airport at the same time,” she reflects.
A blend of stubbornness and openness becomes crucial. Establishing a mission is key, and sticking to it forms the bedrock. “We never change our mission throughout the growth phase, but we were always tinkering about how we reach it,” Adriana asserts. As teams evolve from a family to a tribe, she underscores the significance of communication and alignment.
Opening avenues for everyone to contribute fosters a sense of belonging and commitment to the mission.
Build trust and maintain communication
Passion propels Sarah Al-Hussaini, Co-founder and COO at Ultimate, in her leadership journey over the past six years at the organisation. Whilst navigating the peaks and troughs in the AI landscape, she emphasizes the importance of building trust with employees. “When setting new targets during turbulent times, it creates anxiety. You can’t create a plan and hope they believe it,” Sarah notes. Building trust is a gradual process—through repetition and transparency, her team weathered tough market crashes, rebuilding confidence in the business, and reaped the reward once the demand for their service began to tilt in their favour.
Strategic decisions and the human touch
“The ability to think, plan, and take control over decision-making is critical when navigating the new intricacies in data,” emphasizes Cassie Kozyrkov, Speaker, Writer, and CEO at Data Scientific. In the era of accelerating change, leaders attuned to emerging trends gain a strategic advantage. Cassie advocates structuring teams to keep an eye on external developments. “What’s available? What can be done easier than we’re already doing it?” Harnessing new possibilities in your investments becomes imperative for sustained success. In the midst of teams becoming more specialised, and growing their expertise, Cassie says, “It’s through our decisions that we impact the world around us, not the data”, she says.
Change management and clarification
Amy Challen, leading AI product endeavours at Shell, emphasizes the paramount importance of clarity in business objectives. “It’s crucial to be clear about business intentions, ensuring everyone is on the same page,” she highlights. Introducing new features in a large enterprise hinges on effective change management. Amy stresses the need to illuminate the opportunities a new product or feature may bring, justifying the change management efforts. For instance, Shell plans extensive training on Generative AI developments, recognizing it as a learning journey that will yield long-term benefits for the workforce.
Stay tuned next week to read exclusive interviews and many more insights from Europe’s largest tech conference.