The fun (and the mad rush) of the holiday season is over, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about your goals and expectations for 2021. Product people are naturally data-driven and goal-focused, so you might have already put together your list of New Year’s resolutions.
Or you might be sitting there thinking, why bother?
The targets we set for ourselves are as important as the targets we set for our work. As professionals, we all want to contribute the very best that we can offer, and setting smart New Year’s resolutions is a great way to make that happen. They can transform your day to day, make your life easier, and take you to new heights.
Don’t have your list? That’s OK, we’ve made one for you!
Tip: Think About Your North Star
New Year’s resolutions are often moonshot goals, a concept which all Product Managers should be familiar with. You don’t just have to have a North Star for your product vision, you can also have one for yourself. Be that as a leader, as a teammate, or as an individual professional.
If you’re struggling to think of what short-term goals you want to set for yourself, think first about your long-term goals. What does the ideal version of your life look like ten years from now? (Try to think within the realm of possibility, rather than imagining yourself as an astronaut or the new Queen of England.)
Once you’ve decided what your personal North Star is, think about how that vision compares with where you are now. You should then be able to connect the dots and see what areas you need to work on in order to get there.
Tip: Make It Quantifiable
Goals can be a little abstract, making them hard to track and easier to give up on. If there’s a goal or resolution you’re passionate about sticking to all throughout 2021, finding a way to make your progress quantifiable will help you to keep yourself accountable.
For example, if your goal is ‘be a better leader’, that’s a little too abstract to be able to keep track of. If there’s an internal review process for team leaders at your company, you could use this as a benchmark. Or if your goal is to ‘get better at coding’, find a challenge that looks doable with a little more practice, and set it for yourself. Or sign up for something like codecademy and commit to using it once a day.
Resolution #1: Reconnect With Your Teams
2020 has connected and disconnected the world in a million different ways, leaving relationships and lines of communication fairly scrambled. That’s true whether you’re still with the same team as you were before, or whether you’re starting a new position entirely.
As the product world largely goes remote (which will stay that way for many of the top tech companies across the world at least until 2022), smoothless collaboration has also moved online. Overall, the product world has adapted to this shift very quickly. But we’ve lost those ‘water cooler’ moments. We’re no longer crossing our colleagues in the hallway, or chatting to them in the queue for our morning coffee. Those moments are not only a source of inspiration, but they help to build trust and team connections.
While you might have become an expert at working online with your colleagues, make 2021 the year you re-learn how to connect with your colleagues.
You might have fallen out of the habit of making casual conversation with people before you dive in on the business talk! If that’s the case, make a habit of asking people how they are, and really wanting to know. It’ll make the day to day more pleasant, and also help you to build stronger connections with your teams (which is an absolute must for strong Product Management.)
Resolution #2: Learn a New Skill
Many of us re-discovered our love of learning in 2020 (which is what inspired us to launch our Learn from Home hub, packed with free resources) and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t continue into 2021. In fact, it’s even better to do in 2021!
The hiring pool in pretty much every industry is about to get more competitive, and if you’re looking to break into PM for the first time, or looking to move to the position of your dreams, you’ll need as much of an edge as possible.
Having something to work out outside of work can also be a great stress-reliever, as it allows you to check your problems at the metaphorical door, and lose yourself in a different task. It’s something that can make you feel good about yourself as you make continual progress, and who knows what doors will open up for you.
Interested in getting certified as a Product Manager? Check out our industry-recognized certifications.
Resolution #3: Find New Ways to Show Up
We all have those little things in life that we know we’re not putting 100% of our energy into. It could be that weekly meeting that you pretty much snooze through, the optional team building/socializing events that you always skip, or the corners you cut on the tasks you don’t enjoy doing.
It’s totally normal, and sometimes it’s necessary to cut yourself some slack in order to get through particularly gruelling weeks.
But outside of those weeks where corner cutting is a survival tactic, there’s definitely room for you to show up. Showing up doesn’t mean putting in 120% when you only have 80% to give. It means seeing a reasonable opportunity to be present, make a contribution, give back, help out, give an opinion, introduce a solution…and taking it!
In 2021, keep an eye out for these opportunities. They might lead you down some interesting rabbit holes, and who knows where you’ll end up when the year is over.
Resolution #4: Connect With/Give Back To the Product Community
This resolution goes hand in hand with the last. In our Product Management community, there are over a million Product Managers, from aspiring PMs to leaders with decades in the industry. There are some truly amazing things happening.
If you’re breaking into product for the first time, this community is your number one most valuable resource. Networking in 2021 won’t look the same as it has in years gone by (for better or for worse!) and this community has only gone from strength to strength.
Even if you’ve been in the industry for decades, there’s a seat for you at this table. Your expertise and experience can help give another budding PM the boost they need to land their dream job.
Looking for ways to give back to the Product community? You could write a blog, host a webinar, or even appear at #ProductCon! Contact our team for details.
We couldn’t possibly take credit for the power of this community – every day we see people offering to read through someone’s CV, to make an introduction, to answer a question, to mentor…the list goes on and on!
Interested in joining us? Check out our Product School Pro memberships to join the best of the best in the Product Management world.