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I hear you’re going to attend Sequent’s Product Management Essentials Workshop. Great, we’re glad to have you! Before you go through the training, I’d like to share some ideas with you on how you can best leverage what you’ll learn to impact your career.
Chances are this isn’t the first class or workshop you’ve taken. Think back on some past professional development courses you’ve participated in… did you apply all (or any) of the concepts into your daily work life? If the answer is “no”, you’re not alone. It is quite common to take a course on some topic, be really excited and passionate about it for a couple of days after and then go right back to what and how we were doing things before.
While we structure our workshops to be hands-on learning experiences that will give you a better chance to absorb the information, it is still a lot of content. Frankly, it’s not humanly possible to retain everything we will discuss. You can, however, take steps to get more out of the workshop and use it to impact your career path.
Before you get to the workshop, do these things:
1) Think about and summarize your current role
To really get the most out of the workshop, in the context of your current role, it helps to summarize – in your mind or even better, more formally on paper – your current role. Don’t just use the job description you got when you were hired; go through and do this from scratch. This may sound basic, but you’d be surprised how little we know about the role we do every day until we try to succinctly explain it.
By summarizing your role, using the questions below as a guide, you will be able to have a clear picture of your responsibilities and the interconnections among your cross-functional peers, and this will help as you dive into the workshop content.
2) Think about your future career goals
Now that you’ve recapped your current role, think about where you want your career to be in one year, three years and ten years. Do you have specific goals for role, knowledge level, seniority, title, etc.? If so, outline this along with your strengths are weaknesses so that you can identify certain topic areas or skill sets that will help you move toward your goals.
Soon after the workshop, do these things:
3) Within the first week afterwards, write a summary report on the workshop
I know… ain’t nobody got time for this. Well, make the time! I promise you it will exponentially enhance your investment of two days. You were given a lot of information over the workshop, and there is no way you can retain it all. That’s ok. But you can – and should – retain a handful of important points.
By creating a summary document, you’re solidifying in your mind those important points.
Even better, present your summary document to your manager and peers. They will learn something, and you’ll be reinforcing the ideas in your mind even more.
4) Find one or two topics/areas from the workshop that synch with your career goals and strengths and weaknesses
You’ve got your outline of where you want to go in your career along with what areas you can leverage as strengths and where you need improvement. Now cross-reference that to the content from the workshop (use your summary report as a guide). Finally, put a plan in place to implement that (or those) areas into your daily work life.
For example, if you want to move into product leadership and one of your strengths is cross-functional collaboration, focus on the cross-functional product team topic from the workshop and make that a reality in your world. You will not only be improving your current product’s performance but also sharpening your leadership skills.
Conversely, if you need to improve on your ability to gather customer and market insights, set up a plan – and diligently measure progress –to spend time in market and hone the skills it takes to dig deep and find core customer needs.
Yes, all of this will take additional time and effort, but not a lot. And the effort you put in before and after the workshop in these areas will greatly increase the impact it will have on your career today and in the future.