Infusing teams with missionary zeal

We need to give our organisations and teams a mission. Not just any mission. A mission that that they want to pursue with a passion. With an enthusiasm that makes them want to wake up everyday to come to work to tackle a huge problem.

We have to pick the right missions to pursue. We have to be bold in our choices.  This is because people want to join causes they believe in. Your team needs to understand why this is an important problem to solve and the opportunity it presents if it is solved.

Examples of ambitious missions include:
* The first person to land on the moon.
*  The first to release a self driving car to the mass market (a number of car companies are pursuing this)
* Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together (Facebook)

Man on moon planting flag

In the past, I’ve been on teams where we were building features. Nevertheless, very important features for a product or organisation. But I could see that it was time to level up the team. If we can tell our product teams about the broader mission, they will design that feature with that mission in mind.

I remember when I first started working in the tech industry, someone told me that I should only tell the developers or designers exactly what they needed to do. Not a single detail more. However, I believe this is the wrong approach. In fact, we need to do the opposite.

We should share with team members the broader picture. We need people to buy-in to the higher level reason of why we are doing something. If they can understand the mission, they can better design the widget that allows us to get there. If we’re going to the moon, we don’t want to build a cardboard box.

As product managers, we need to level up the mission. When we do this, we level up the team. People will want to join your cause and your team. Its far easier to recruit people for your cause when you have a bold vision.

We need to be good at breaking down a task into concrete steps. As you need to be able to bring your vision back down to earth, and up again to the moon 🙂 We need to be able to paint a vivid picture of the future that is undeniable and the path to get there.

We have a duty to infuse our teams with missionary zeal. Product managers have to pick the right problems to solve which teams get behind. If your team understands the high level purpose of what we are doing and they believe in it, there’s nothing stopping them. They will pursue it with passion and devotion.

We have to ensure that they are unblocked with swift yet considered decision making. This also requires us to build trust in our teams. Where all team members share the same heartbeat so we’re all in sync. Where each member knows that their opinions are heard, where they feel that their contributions are important and valued. Once we can do this, our teams will pursue a mission with relentless zeal.

I’m out like Kyrie Irving,
Matt Ho

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