Communicate your value as a product manager clearly and effectively to your organization’s decision-makers
What was your last performance evaluation discussion like? Did you get the raise you wanted? What about a promotion negotiation? I’ve messed that up more times than I want to admit. I expected my work to speak for itself. I wasn’t actively managing my career.
For product managers, you can think about managing your career like you would a product, navigating a path that best positions yourself for recognition, raises, and promotions that you deserve. That also means you are able to work on the projects that most interest you, participate in training opportunities, attend conferences, and get other resources you want. A properly managed career gives you control.
To share how you can better manage your career, Farnoosh Brock joins us. After starting her corporate career at Cisco, she has become an expert on career management and growth as well as a personal coach who has helped many people build their careers. She shares valuable and specific tips so you can better manage your career.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:10] What is your experience with promotions?
I spent 18 months at a startup, followed by 12 years at Cisco, which is where my personal experience comes in. At first, I went by the philosophy that working hard will lead to recognition. That’s only half the story if you want to keep moving up the corporate ladder. At Cisco, I heard that a promotion would be pretty much guaranteed if I earned a certification. I got the certification and nothing happened, which made me curious about what I was missing. As you rise through the ranks, promotions become harder to obtain and promotions become more dependent on relationships with direct reports, managers, customers, and others in the organization.
[8:39] Is managing your career like managing a product?
Yes, a career doesn’t take care of itself. What gets in the way for a lot of people is the perception that getting promotion is all about politics. You disqualify yourself by believing that myth. To succeed, you need to be authentic while developing the skills to be able to speak for your work and the value you provide.
[10:57] What are some of the common mistakes people make when it comes to receiving promotions?
The work doesn’t speak for itself. You need to understand the value you bring to your immediate inner circle and your larger circle. Value should be measured in terms of results, not activities. It can be intangible things like mentoring and improving company culture. It’s easy to get lost in your tasks and lose sight of the higher view. You have to make time to connect the dots while being accurate and fair to yourself without exaggerating.
[18:42] How do you stand out among a team?
You should never be in competition with your peers, even in your mindset. Stay with the idea that you are bringing unique value and be confident in that. You should be able to support and serve your team members; be a resource for them. Your peers should love you; you should not be in competition with them. Your competition should be you from the past — are you growing and increasing value to your company over time? That is how you need to position yourself to the influencers and decision-makers in your organization.
[23:58] What’s another mistake people commonly make?
Something I see at all levels of an organization is people not knowing what to say in a conversation with your supervisor. Don’t start by saying that you work really hard and deserve a promotion because of the time you are putting in. Instead, start by describing your value to your boss, your projects, and your company. Don’t dismiss the hard work you do, even in casual conversations. You think you’re being humble, but you’re actually lowering the value that you bring.
- Farnoosh’s system, Crack the Code to Get Promoted
- Find resources and connect with Farnoosh at Prolific Living
“How shall we live? We are born and die one time in this human life. How shall we live it? Is it a joyous thing to live a long life? Life is not that way. Is it sorrowful to die after a short life? Life is not that way. The question is how we shall live.” -Unknown
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