on leadership during wartime

This very thoughtful and thought provoking piece from Marty Cagan. By thinking about the innovator’s dilemma from the analogy of wartime leadership. 

…So how do you prepare for war?

Preparing for war means moving to a strong product culture, one where we can learn quickly.  Not just minor learnings like we do when we optimize, but fundamental learnings that enable entire new sources of revenue.

It means getting good at product discovery – both qualitative (especially user prototyping and user testing) and quantitative (especially live-data prototypes and split testing).

It means getting serious about user experience design.  It means utilizing your best engineers for more than just coding.

Preparing for war also means getting clarity on roles and responsibilities, and raising the bar for everyone in the company.  It means abandoning such luxuries as a consensus culture in favor of a truly collaborative culture, with true empowerment but also accountability.

These are some of the fundamentals, but preparing for war mostly means getting serious about the products and services we produce for our customers.

For what it’s worth, my view is that at least in the technology industry, I’m not sure we’ll ever enjoy “peacetime” again.  I say that because the industry moves and adapts so quickly now, that I don’t see any leadership position as safe.  Staying on top means a relentless focus on customers and continuous innovation.

via Preparing For War.

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