An important topic in product management is ensuring that organisations are prioritising inclusivity within their product teams by boosting safety, trust, and belonging. In this Sunday Rewind, we look back to #mtpcon SF+Americas 2022 when Farai Madzima, UX Manager at Shopify led a session on working with strangers well.
“The challenges we face are systemic. And if me, you, everybody recognise where things are going wrong then we can take action to try and get things towards the right place” Farai says. He explains how today we are designing and building features and products that have a narrow stunted view of what is normal, what is typical in society.
Farai shared learnings from his own experience, with actionable exercises you can take to your teams to improve inclusivity:
Start with alignment
Accelerate trust and reduce interpersonal distance by working to better understand the people you work with. Alignment requires both trust and safety Farai says, recognising that it’s not always easy to reach, and can be threatened by tactless or bigoted questions.
Say my name…properly
Understand that the names you use for your teammates may not be their full or favoured name, but one they have chosen to avoid friction, making it easier for you to pronounce. It feels uncomfortable at first. But then it makes such a difference.
Give time to think and speak
Be open to new rhythms in how you work together, give people opportunities to lead where possible, and support them with coaching. Additionally, give people the time and safety to contribute, even if that means taking more time.
Finally, thank, thank, and thank again. Overthanking is about continually recognising people, even for doing the job they’re paid to do. ‘When we overthank we are reiterating signals that we appreciate the value that you bring here, and you belong’ Farai says.
If you’re interested in delving deeper into working with teams better, read our original in-depth recap of the talk, or watch the video in full in this post.
If you want to elevate your product management game and witness inspiring and actionable keynotes at one of our #mtpcon conferences then you can secure your place at #mtpcon San Francisco today! Happening on June 14 – join us in-person or online.