Why Great Products Require Great Leaders - David DeWolf

Why Great Products Require Great Leaders

Several years ago I met Frank. After taking over a recently acquired division of a large public company and successfully stabilizing the business, he worked with his team to reimagine what the product line could be.

He had an innovative approach and a strong vision for how the business could disrupt the market and create an entirely new sector. He understood one of the staples of the information industry – innovate or die. I thought he had a real chance of reinventing the business.

Unfortunately, he failed.

After gaining executive support and a 7-digit budget, Frank began to build his next generation product. He made two fundamental mistakes.

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Being a Leader Means Being Hated - David DeWolf

Being a Leader Means Being Hated

If you’re going to be a leader, the reality is you’re not going to be liked, you’re going to do things people don’t like, and, quite frankly, you’re may be hated.

Businesses are made up of people. Every decision we make has ramifications for those people.

Over and over, I have been forced to make tough, difficult decisions that people don’t like and that hurt people. I haven’t made these decisions because I don’t like these people or because I don’t respect them or because I don’t do things the right way. The decisions I’ve made hurt because actions have ramifications, and sometimes people simply don’t like the decision I make. Even if they don’t really disagree, they don’t like the ramification that it has on them as a person.

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The Importance of Urgency - David DeWolf

The Importance of Urgency

Urgency is an underappreciated and under-attained trait.

Urgency is essential for making change and for making progress. Things do not move forward without the impetus for change. Change is hard. Making progress is hard.

And leaders understand the importance of that change. They understand how to make progress by capturing a sense of urgency and pushing things forward.

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humble confidence navigate the challenges

Use Humble Confidence to Navigate Challenges

While confidence will get you through challenges, humility will help you navigate them. Without humility—the ability to truly listen to the market, my advisors, and my customers—I would never have realized the flaw in my company’s approach to offshoring. I simply didn’t believe it could work. 

If I had been bull-headed and stubborn, I never would have gotten past this point. Luckily, I surrounded myself early on with advisors I respected and would listen to. I was able to form a brand-new strategy and approach. 

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