Inside LaunchStreet Podcast Guest Richard Banfield

How Getting Out of the Office and Walking Through the Manure Will Be a Powerful Experience in Product Leadership.


Inside LaunchStreet interviews Richard Banfield, the CEO and co-founder of Fresh Tilled Soil, a leading Product User Experience Design Firm in Boston, and the co-author of the best selling book, Product Leadership: How Top Product Leaders Launch Great Products And Build Successful Teams. We dig deep into why product leadership is so important, how to bring that skill to your work, building fast innovation cycles, determining the signals from the noise, and driving good decision making.
Listen now to this episode on Inside LaunchStreet:

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Key Takeaways:

[1:21] You need a good leader to have a successful product. Leaders must be able to deliver and measure value to their customer. Find out what’s different in the role of a product manager and a product leader. You must listen to the customer and seek out negative feedback.

[6:12] Richard shares advice so that you can be less emotional and more objective about feedback. It’s like any skill that requires effort. You have to get out there and practice it!

[8:17] Is this feedback I can do something about? Find out about gravity problems and how to address them.

[9:29] Prototypes are more important than PowerPoints. Prototypes should pose a question that generates an answer for you.

[12:43] Why is product leadership so relevant today?

[15:44] Modern companies with any real desire to succeed will actively pursue the voice of the customer. Product managers aid in soliciting the customer’s voice.

[16:33] How does a company build and nurture high-performing teams to achieve success? First, the teams must be cross-functional teams that represent all units within the organization. Second the teams must be co-located, connected, and working with each other. Third, autonomous; they must have the training and coaching to make good decisions.

[18:49] People must be taught to make good decisions. However, not every decision will be good. Don’t go for the big reveal. Work in a quick microcycle to deliver value, and fix problems along the way. Innovate, tweak, fix, and revolve as you move through the process.

[20:47] Richard believes the innovation team should be coaching and training everyone else how to think within the company.

[23:42] Successful product companies ship a lot of experiences and deliver hIgh rates of  value, around 5-10 experiences a month.

[24:42] Richard talks about some “aha” moments that he experienced while writing his book, Product Leadership. It’s OK to say, “I don’t know.”

[26:33] How does one divide the signal from the noise? Leadership must paint a clear vision for everyone, and explain why it’s meaningful, and how to get there.

[29:29] How can you identify product leadership? It needs to be obvious by intention. You need to get people on board, and then organize the effort. Leaders need to possess  empathy, organize and present well, and have the energy to go and perform every single day.

[32:06] Product leadership is one of the keys to making sure innovation is happening.  All aspects of the business must be part of innovation.

[33:44] Richard shares an analogy of the doctor making a house call to the crazy cat lady. Go and observe the customers in action and live in their shoes. Walk through the manure.

[38:24] Why is it necessary to be a lifelong learner?

{40:00] Connect with Richard on Twitter or on Richard’s homepage. Purchase Richard’s book on Amazon.

If you are ready to:

■ get buy-in from key decision makers on your next big idea

■ be a high-impact, high-value member that ignites change

■ foster a culture of innovation where everyone on your team is bringing innovative ideas that tackle challenges and seize opportunities…


Mentioned in This Episode:

Product Leadership: How Top Product Leaders Launch Great Products And Build Successful Teams, by Richard Banfield

Richard’s Homepage

Connect with Richard on Twitter