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Issue 108

Product Management – How to become a top performer

Terezia Neagu
Product Owner @ Betfair Romania Development
MANAGEMENT

The performance can be translated the way we manage to accomplish our daily tasks which are mapped to our company's­­ goals and vision. The performance is usually brought into the light each time when we talk about employee evaluation - how well he managed to execute and deliver the expected work activities.

What is a top performer?

[] The performance of each employee can be evaluated and tracked using different metrics and will tell us how well that person performed during a time period (3 months, 6 months, 1-year etc).

The top performer is the person who takes the responsibility to obtain the results within the company structure and maintains good relationships with his peers and leaders.

The secret is to keep these two areas in balance: results and relationships to reach a harmony in the way we feel, think and act in the end.

How to become a top performer?

There are hundreds of ways each and one of us can improve and achieve better performance but there are a series of steps which can be applied across any field or domain of expertise, including product management to achieve the status of the "top performer":

# 1 Obtain Results

In product management what matters in the end are the RESULTS. How we achieve to get the results is up to us to decide the best approach which suits each and one of us. Remember sometimes we can easily be distracted when working with other people, the relationships can make this task difficult or easy. An important rule to consider don't let the relationships which you have at work impact your energy, focus and perseverance to get the results everyone wants to be delivered.

In product management, the biggest challenge are the relationships with the stakeholders and how we choose to engage with them. No matter of how difficult is to keep these connections, keep in mind that everyone expects results and the goal is to deliver them accordingly.

#2 Outcome focused

In managing several initiatives, we expect a specific outcome, in the world of product management these are customer outcomes. In our journey to achieves these outcomes we can encounter several challenges which become obstacles if we don't tackle them right from the start.

Staying outcome focused implies seeking solutions to all the challenges which come along and manage them in a timeline to avoid any impact it might have on the end result.

Some examples of such challenges which might appear:

What's important is to find all the problems/challenges, find solutions, act on them and make sure they successfully remove the issues from the road towards achieving the expected outcomes.

To make sure everyone keeps the outcome focused mindset, assign owners and actions, keep them accountable and follow up with them to monitor the progress of the product/outcome development.

# 3 Learn to say NO

Learning to say NO can become a game changer and is a crucial professional skill we need to acquire at a certain point in our careers. There are various examples of situations when we can refuse in product management

When dealing with any of the challenging situations, the way we deliver the message ("NO") must leave the door open for future discussions and flexibility is the word of the order here.

#4 Take on challenges and experience opportunities

There is a point in our career when is time to take on challenges which are out of our comfort zone and they become opportunities to develop ourselves. Sometimes we need to risk and act on them to be able to progress further otherwise we may end up in a comfort/dead zone.

Keep in mind that experiencing something NEW doesn't mean you have to master and nailed it but rather try, fail and quickly learn if there are any benefits for your own personal development.

Some examples of such challenges can be: take on a new initiative/project where you lack kndolwedge, Start mentoring others and share your kndolwedge (product mentorship training), train your peers in a specific domain (product management training).Plan in your goals to try something NEW each year to keep your focus, interest, passion and engagement with your work.

Once you have found your rhythm, keep the tone and be consistent with your results. Don't drop the "ball", is easy to fallback in the comfort zone if you aren't persuasive.

We frequently hear the fear of trying NEW things because of what other people might think, eliminate other personas from this equation as is you and only you who can validate yourself as a person.

# 5 Be decision maker and held yourself accountable

One of the decisive moments is when we need to take decisions and held our self-accountable of the outcome of our actions in the end. There is a say:" A bad decision is better than no decision". The top performer has no hesitation when it comes to making decisions and take full responsibility for them.

People need strong leaders who are determined, consistent and take smart decisions no matter of the context. Is not easy to decide when the situation requires one, however there are a series of steps we can take to improve our decision-making process:

  1. Identify the decision you need to take - awareness that we need to take a decision and live up to it

  2. Gather relevant information you need to support your decision

  3. Define the alternatives or options you have for the given situation

  4. Evaluate and refine all the alternatives

  5. Choose an alternative and act

  6. Review the outcomes of your decisions

After you managed to go through the decision process making, the next step is to hold yourself accountable for them. Accountability for decision making is the ability to accept responsibility of outcomes of our own actions. There are 2 scenarios of a decision: good decision where you have positive outcome and un-inspired decision where you don't achieve to get the expected outcome. This is a strategic game we need to play and be comfortable either we fail or succeed.

There are some ways we can get better of being accountable/responsible of our decisions like: recognize our mistakes and talk about them, involve our peers in the decision making process (teamwork), setup clear expectations and be transparent about them, ensure we have the resources necessary to help us in the decision-making process and offer feedback. Once we practice several steps to improve our accountability in the same time, we will experience the following: boost in confidence, improvement in performance and openness to learn. Don't hesitate, decide, live up for it and become a top player in the business.

# 6 Thank you Note

Always remember to thank people no matter of the context, acknowledging their efforts and hard work is welcomed and keeps a note of empathy and consideration.

# 7 Practice Wellbeing

The concept of wellbeing can be defined as the state of being comfortable, happy and healthy - A top performer always takes care of himself both professionally and personally. There are 5 ways to Wellbeing: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.

We can do a lot of actions to improve our performance but remember only you can decide if you succeeded or failed in this quest and do not let others validate you as a person.

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