These are wise words from Jetu Patel, EVP & GM, Security and Collaboration at Cisco. I admire him a lot!. He posted it to LinkedIn, and I believe every PM needs to know and consciously avoid these obsessions. I copied his post here as a reference note for me..
Measure yourself with the frequency and quality of original insights that you and your team come up with that make your value unique.
If the predominant thinking becomes competitor obsessed, by definition your “original insights quotient” will drop as will your relevance.
Here are the traps I’ve fallen into and when I’ve avoided them, progress has been much more likely:
Leads to systemic loss of original insights. Catch-up is almost never a good strategy unless your explicit position is that you own a monopoly and will leverage your distribution with a good enough product. Maybe 3 companies in the world can probably do this. It’s infinitely easier to do something different and win than to try and catch-up and win.
Resource Scarcity Obsession
Leads to apathy. Accept your investment envelope and start thinking of the way to win with what you have. Abundance is seldom the reason companies win. Scarcity is seldom the reason companies lose. Having too much resource can cause failure because it doesn’t force you to focus.
Shiny Object Obsession
Leads to randomization. Teams need intense focus to deeply think about problems that they can solve uniquely. Don’t chase shiny objects, chase problems. Continuous shiny object pursuits dissipate focus and prevent you at being world class at anything. It is great to be responsive to market movements. It is terrible to be reactive to market hypes.
Leads to mis-alignment. Relaying complex thoughts makes us feel smart. But leaves people confused. Default state of all things left unattended leads to complexity. Achieving simplicity is hard and against the grain. But so so so necessary for success at scale. Also, simplicity and sophistication don’t have to be competing alternatives. Sophistication is different from complexity.
5) Risk Elimination Obsession —> Leads to indecision. We must constantly de-risk. Try to minimize risk. But learn to make strong judgement calls with incomplete data. Waiting for a complete set of data before making a call is not why we get paid to go to work. We get paid to use our judgement to be decisive with just the right amount of data. Otherwise known as strong decisions with incomplete data. Companies that win big are fast and right more than they are wrong.
Leads to loss of speed in businesses. Time is our enemy in business. Speed and a sense of urgency is so essential to success. By all means get buyin from co-workers. But don’t look confuse concensus and alignment. They are two very different things. And if you spend 80% of your time aligning vs building, you’re seeking unanimous concensus and calling it alignment.
Net net. Seek original insights, solve real customer problems that they are willing to pay for and obsess on customer delight at scale. Rest will follow.
– Jetu Patel