A “bulletproof soul”. For Executive Product Leader, Dominique Jost, this is the perfect way to describe what product leaders need in order to do their jobs well. And, over the last stressful 18 months, any product leaders who hadn’t yet developed one, probably had to do so pretty quickly.
This topic — stress management for product leaders — is one Dominique will address at the upcoming MTP Engage Leadership Forum in Hamburg (September 27).
Pulling from his own experiences as a one-time Chief Product Officer at one of Switzerland’s leading online platforms, Scout24, and drawing on the experiences of the dozens of product leaders he’s interviewed in the course of researching the topic of stress management and self care, Dominique will take the stage at this exciting in-person event to deliver his new talk, Bulletproof Soul – Lessons for product leaders about self-care and managing stress.
We spoke to Dominique to better understand the message behind his upcoming talk.
When stress takes over
Dominique spent 17 years at Scout24, starting his career there as a software engineer and culminating with his CPO role and a seat on the board. He was an instrumental part of its growth from a 50-person startup to a 500-person strong business running successful digital marketplaces. “I want to share my story and what I learned,” he says. “I want to help other product leaders with their stress management and help them avoid the mistakes I made .”
He loved his work at Scout24, he says, he loved the challenge and the constant change. Then one Friday afternoon late last year he was planning what he needed to get done in the following week and realised that he didn’t want to do it any longer. “In a few seconds I went from ‘this is just a matter of perseverance’ to ‘I can’t do this any more’. I think what my head was telling me to do had diverged from what I valued and what my heart was telling me to do,” he says. He took a couple of months off, returned to a slightly different role for a while, and finally left the company completely in June this year to set up his boutique consulting business Calmr Works, and explore other options.
Recognising the problem
At the MTP Engage Leadership Forum in Hamburg he’ll be talking about how to recognise that you’re on the wrong path, and the things that signal you’re no longer in a healthy space. He’ll also address what you can do about it, to either get back from what he calls “a red state of mind to a green state of mind”, or how you can maintain a green state of mind.
Generally people don’t think about what makes them stressed, he says, and they’ll just do something that calms them down and then go straight back to it. “There’s positive and negative stress,” he says. “You need the positive stress that stimulates you, that pushes you forward. It’s the crossing over from positive to negative stress that drains energy from you.”
By the time of the #mtpengage conference Dominique will have spoken to over 40 product leaders about how they detect and manage stress. He’s looking forward to sharing their wisdom as well as his own. “Hopefully I’ll be able to destigmatise parts of the relationship we have with stress and burnout,” he says. “People need to feel they can say they’re overwhelmed and need help.”
The Leadership Forum will take place at New Work Harbour in Hamburg in a spacious venue with good fresh air ventilation, allowing us to work to all legal standards (as well as common sense).
This half-day event will host no more than 50 attendees and provides dedicated time to take a step back from the stress of your day-to-day work to focus on your unique challenges and hone your leadership skills.
Our three industry-leading speakers, Megan Murphy, VP Product at Hotjar, Björn Waide, Managing Director at Haufe-Lexware, and Executive Product Leader, Dominique Jost will be there to spark inspiration and provide plenty of opportunities for questions and discussion.