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Hi everyone, here’s what we have for you this week:
What are the keys to persuading team members to see your view? In this week’s episode of The Everyday Leader, we hear from Tai Ajayi on how he uses stakeholder influence in his Product role at Propel. Listen here.
Every manager can and should play a role in driving business development. We share 4 strategies to make sure you’re contributing. Read more here.
Not all learning programs are embraced by teams. We share a few best practices to consider when rolling out a new internal program. Read more here.
Read on for more details…
Tai Ajayi is from Lagos, Nigeria. Tai is a product and data champion, recently appointed Vice President, Product Commercial at Propel. Before this appointment, he was Head of Growth at Propel. Previously he worked as Product Manager at Centricity Inc, an AI/ML Startup based in NYC and Coresight Research as Head of Data Product, championing retail data as a product. He has several years of consulting under his belt where he transformed talent acquisition and management strategy for many organisations. He is an MBA Candidate at Lagos Business School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Management Information Systems from Covenant University. He loves Poetry and has published a poem collection, God Must Be a Poet.
In a recent conversation on a podcast, Tai Ajayi, a product manager at Propel, shared insights into his career journey and the importance of skills necessary for success in product management. As someone who has experienced the industry first-hand, Tai believes that there are three key skills that a product manager should possess: the ability to communicate in a simple way, the ability to drive collaboration with people, and the ability to influence stakeholders.
According to Tai, communication is one of the most important skills for a product manager to possess. He stressed the importance of being able to explain complex concepts and ideas in a simple way that anyone can understand. This is particularly important when communicating with stakeholders who may not have a technical background. By being able to communicate effectively, product managers can ensure that everyone is on the same page, and that projects move forward efficiently.
Another key skill that Tai highlighted is the ability to drive collaboration with people. Product management often involves working with cross-functional teams, which means that product managers need to be able to build relationships and work effectively with people from different departments and backgrounds. By fostering collaboration, product managers can help ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.
In addition to communication and collaboration, Tai emphasized the importance of stakeholder influence. As a product manager, it's important to be able to persuade stakeholders to see things from your point of view. This involves building trust and credibility, and being able to present a compelling argument for why a particular product decision is the right one.
Sustainable Hiring and Community Support
Tai also discussed his work at Propel, a company that focuses on curating the entire tech talent ecosystem in Africa. According to Tai, sustainable hiring and supporting tech communities are crucial to the company's mission. Propel provides value stacks and tool stacks to support tech communities in Africa and ensure that they have access to global job opportunities. Tai believes that product management practice on the African continent needs to be raised to international standards, and that upskilling and coaching are necessary to ensure that product managers are properly trained for their roles.
Overall, Tai's insights shed light on the importance of communication, collaboration, and stakeholder influence in product management, as well as the importance of upskilling and coaching for success in this field. Additionally, his work at Propel highlights the need for sustainable hiring and support for tech communities in Africa. By focusing on these key areas, product managers can help drive innovation and growth in the tech industry both in Africa and around the world.
How Any Manager Can Indirectly Support Their Company's Business Development Efforts
Business development is essential to any organization's success, and managers have a vital role in supporting these efforts. While being proactive, fostering innovation, and providing resources are essential elements, practical strategies such as networking, qualifying and referring high-quality leads can be equally valuable.
Networking is a powerful tool for generating new business opportunities. Managers can attend industry events, participate in online forums, and connect with potential partners or customers on social media platforms. For example, a manager can attend a conference related to their industry and introduce themselves to potential partners or investors. They can also join online groups, such as LinkedIn groups, to connect with like-minded professionals and seek opportunities for collaboration. Networking is not only about sales, but it can also lead to strategic partnerships, business collaborations, and knowledge sharing.
2. Qualifying and Referring High-Quality Leads
Managers can support their organization's business development efforts by qualifying leads and referring them to the right teams within the company. For example, if a customer expresses interest in a new product or service, the manager can assess their needs and refer them to the sales or marketing team. The manager can also work with the sales team to develop a lead qualification process and ensure that the team is following up on qualified leads promptly. Managers can also refer high-quality leads to the appropriate teams in their organization to ensure that the leads receive the attention they deserve.
3. Collaborating with Other Departments
Managers can collaborate with other departments within their organization to support business development efforts. For example, if the marketing team is launching a new campaign, the manager can work with them to identify key target markets and provide feedback on the campaign's effectiveness. The manager can also work with the product development team to identify new product opportunities and provide input on the product's features and benefits. Collaboration across departments can lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the market, the customer needs, and the opportunities for growth.
4. Monitoring and Reporting
Finally, managers should monitor and report on the progress of their organization's business development efforts. This can involve tracking key metrics and KPIs, such as the number of leads generated, conversion rates, and revenue growth. The manager can also provide regular updates to the CEO and other stakeholders on the status of business development initiatives and make strategic adjustments as needed. Managers can use this information to identify areas of improvement and develop new strategies to support business development.
In conclusion, managers have a significant role in supporting their organization's business development efforts. By networking, qualifying and referring high-quality leads, collaborating with other departments, and monitoring and reporting on progress, managers can help drive growth and success for their organization. These strategies can be used by managers who are not directly responsible for sales KPIs, as they can contribute to the overall success of the organization by supporting business development efforts.
Best Practices for Increasing the Uptake of Sponsored L&D Initiatives
In today’s fast-paced business world, organizations must ensure that their employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to stay competitive. One way to achieve this is by offering sponsored learning and development (L&D) initiatives. However, despite the benefits of these programs, many employees are reluctant to participate. As an HR manager, there are several strategies you can use to increase uptake of sponsored L&D initiatives.
Clearly Communicate the Benefits
One of the main reasons employees may be hesitant to participate in sponsored L&D initiatives is because they don't understand the benefits. As an HR manager, it's your job to clearly communicate the advantages of these programs. One practical way to do this is to create a communication plan that outlines the benefits of the initiative and how it aligns with the organization's goals. This plan can be shared via email, intranet, or in-person meetings with employees. It's also important to highlight specific examples of how the initiative can benefit employees, such as improving their skills and increasing their chances of career advancement.
Address Employee Concerns
Another reason employees may be reluctant to participate is because they have concerns about the program. Common concerns may include the amount of time required, the relevance of the training to their job, and the impact on their workload. As an HR manager, it's important to address these concerns and provide reassurance. One way to do this is to create a FAQ document that addresses common concerns and provides answers in a clear and concise manner. You can also organize an information session or Q&A session with employees to address their concerns and provide them with an opportunity to ask questions.
Make it Accessible
Employees may be more likely to participate in sponsored L&D initiatives if they are easy to access. Consider offering online training modules or allowing employees to attend training sessions during work hours. This will make it easier for employees to fit the training into their schedules and reduce the impact on their personal time. Another practical way to make the initiative accessible is to provide training materials in different formats, such as videos, podcasts, or interactive modules. This can help cater to different learning styles and make the training more engaging and enjoyable.
Foster a Learning Culture
Finally, to increase uptake of sponsored L&D initiatives, it's important to foster a culture of learning within the organization. Encourage employees to take an active role in their own development and provide opportunities for them to share their knowledge and skills with others. One practical way to do this is to create a peer-to-peer learning program, where employees can share their expertise with others in the organization. You can also organize lunch and learn sessions, where employees can come together to learn and discuss various topics related to their jobs.
In conclusion, sponsored L&D initiatives can be an effective way to develop the skills and knowledge of employees. However, to ensure maximum uptake, HR managers must clearly communicate the benefits, address employee concerns, make the initiatives accessible, and foster a learning culture within the organization. By doing so, employees will be more likely to participate and organizations can reap the benefits of a skilled and knowledgeable workforce.