“There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them… a person must constantly exceed his level” — Bruce Lee
While it is rare (maybe non-existent) to see Bruce Lee and Product Management in the same article, you might be surprised at how much crossover there is between his teachings and the principles of PM work. This quote, for example, perfectly sums up how companies like Uber, Comcast, and Google are able to continue their hold as industry top dogs.
Rather than being complacent, they take every moment to optimize themselves externally and internally. This type of drive allows these companies to constantly improve, an approach that the late Bruce Lee would certainly find admirable.
Stepping away from kung-fu comparisons, navigating plateaus within a business not only helps the company, but also creates a better overall experience for customers. In the end, this should be the end goal of your business’s desire for self-improvement.
So how exactly do companies like Netflix, Uber, and Google go beyond their limits? One way is through Corporate Training.
Reskilling Existing Abilities 🛠
It’s hard for anyone to admit that they lack the know-how to get a job done. However, by admitting the fact that you may need to add some skills to your existing arsenal, you are taking the first step towards optimizing yourself.
In Ryan’s example, his reskilling experiences allowed him to create an entirely new way of thinking. Essentially, he now has a “third eye” for his work as a product manager.
Developing new skills means opening new paths toward solutions. The value in this goes beyond the personal level, and moves into the space of adding value to your company, and then most importantly to your users.
It is precisely because of this wide-spread value that companies like Uber are willing to spend money on Corporate Training; it is paying to optimize the company, not just the individual.
Reinforcing Talent 💪
Reinforcing or “upskilling” abilities fits perfectly into the metaphor of navigating plateaus. In many cases, improvement is not about adding something new, but rather building upon existing strengths.
In the case of Draper University, for example, Corporate Training through Product School courses was able to strengthen skills that employees admittedly already had (i.e. customer interviews, public speaking, and more).
Another important point to grasp here is that training programs are able to target specific areas that need upskilling. By addressing select traits that are in need of fine-tuning, companies like Draper University Ventures is making their departments bulletproof.
This is another clear example of battling the crippling effects of complacency. Companies like Draper University Ventures are able to exceed expectations because they invest in methods to eliminate comfort with the status quo.
Actionable Learning 🚀
The end goal in any program that revolves around reskilling or upskilling your team is taking these findings and applying them. While theory is good for expanding your point of view, it is otherwise useless if it can’t be put into action.
Applicational learning comes from hands-on, collaborative, specialization. Not all companies are made the same, hence the need to stress customization. Addressing the specific needs of individual companies is how we have been able to help them achieve their goals.
Furthermore, creating custom classes that are highlight applicable insights also eliminates bad habits. Eliminating the problematic product manager within departments is equally important for companies that are top-tier.
The Gist ✅
All companies that experience success will go through a phase where they need an internal boost. Just as with products that need fine-tuning, value in departments is created and not inherited.
Uber, Comcast, and Draper ventures are just a few examples of businesses that understand this philosophy. They all prove that taking the opportunity to learn from other experts is one key to micro and macro optimization.
So, for those of you who are in HR or are Executive Level members, take a moment to think about the benefits. Building a base is a start, but fortifying the foundation is the key.
Have you been part of Corporate Training programs? What was the key takeaway? Let us know! We are always looking for more examples of how you optimize your skills.
Want to level-up your PM squad? Drop us a line here.