What you will learn
- Engage in long-term thinking to combat the tendency for short-term thinking to undermine innovation and employee engagement within a company.
- Go far beyond vision statements as you find, generate, and clearly articulate the "big ideas" that inspire collective action within a team or organization.
- Use of concrete, sensory language and storytelling to avoid vague, "blurry" visions and help them come to life.
- Connect strategic planning, vision and big ideas to the organization's ESG commitments and sustainability commitments.
- Explore the connection between vision and agile development, and how to "productize" it for successful execution.
- Strengthen the foundation for agile execution by focusing on how the four key pillars enable vision and big idea activation within a company or stifle innovation and relevancy.
Setting a clear vision is essential for leaders in any organization, as it helps to guide decision-making and inspires employees and stakeholders to work towards common goals. Strategic planning leaders struggle with envisioning the future and may not have the skills to effectively communicate their vision. Senior leadership must then create action plans that elevate the strategic planning document so that all stakeholders are aligned. Strategy development matters only as much as it can be successfully executed. If you are considering a strategic planning process, you must be conscious of the interface between vision and execution.
The business environment is changing quickly as new technologies, risks and opportunities present themselves. Companies without strategic foresight and long-term vision capabilities will remain in reactive modes. Strategy formulation is not enough to withstand shocks. Strategists must commit time for reflective thinking and away from the day to day in order to scan the external environment and discover what the convergence of trends, demographics threats, and opportunities means for successful strategic planning.
Research shows that less than 10% of leaders consider themselves to be visionary and few think long-term about all stakeholders and their needs. This is a problem, as employees, product management teams, project managers and other stakeholders want to be part of a company with bold, clear strategic goals and strategic objectives that are ignited by a clearly described future state. The “why movement” linked to crafting purpose and organization’s mission statements is now being supplanted by the emerging “where movement.” This movement goes beyond brainstorming towards declaring the “big ideas” tied to long term goals that will inspire stakeholders and create a competitive advantage. “Where are we going?” as an organization is the primal question posed by employees that CEOs and product managers must smartly address. This program will show you how.
Furthermore, the rise of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investors and stakeholders has increased the pressure on companies to take a longer-term view and link their vision to sustainable measures that delight a broad set of stakeholders.
As leaders pivot from the vision towards strategy execution, they are then met with either resistance or lift as organizational architecture and economics bring realism against the aspiration. Operational plans must confront and align their 4 pillars that will enable leaders to execute the organizations goals or wind up frustrated by the inertia that they create. The 4-pillar methodology delivers a strategic framework that makes the linkage between:
- Performance measurement and goal setting (OKRs or KPIs)
- Establishing team structures, organization charts and empowerment
- Rewards, punishments and incentives, and
- Corporate culture (norms, values, behaviors and assumptions).
One example of a leader who successfully applied this strategic framework is CEO Satya Nadella of Microsoft. By focusing on these four pillars, he was able to transform the organization’s mission and pursue new opportunities that led Microsoft to become one of the most valuable companies in the world. Too often leaders simply change an element of culture or a piece of performance evaluation and there is a breakdown as they must look at all four pillars simultaneously. Nadella reset Microsoft’s business model and strategy as he optimized the four pillars against a strategy map that helped all employees know what mattered the most. Once in place, Microsoft began to unleash an effective product strategy chasing new time frames that routinely encourages product plans that are bold with outstanding user experiences.
The program will also dissect cases like Wells Fargo where the business strategy and 4 pillars were misaligned and drove young employees to promote opening accounts with disastrous results for consumers and shareholders.
This two-part course will make the connection between a long-term vision and strategic planning driven by the CEO and C-suite and the translation down to product design teams and project managers who live in day-to-day execution. By reinforcing mechanisms that drive constructive behaviors, the course will help leaders turn their big ideas into practical, tangible products. In doing so, it will make the power of vision more accessible and help leaders to create value for all stakeholders. By focusing on long-term vision (and exploring cathedral and multi-generational thinking) and clearly communicating it through concrete language, imagery, initiatives and storytelling, CEOs and founders as well as the product managers can set their organization apart and unite their people towards a common, achievable future. This course will teach how your business plan and business goals can be elevated by vision (big ideas) and executed through the proper alignment and reinforcement mechanisms within the 4 pillars.
Courses in this program
UMD and USMx's Product Visioning and Strategy: Preparing for Agile Execution Professional Certificate
- 2–3 hours per week, for 4 weeks
The “why movement” linked to crafting purpose and mission statements is now being supplanted by the emerging “where movement.” This movement goes beyond brainstorming towards declaring the “big ideas” that will inspire stakeholders. “Where are we going?” as an organization is the primal question posed by employees that CEOs and product managers must smartly address. This course will teach you how.
- 2–3 hours per week, for 4 weeks
Having a clear long-term vision is crucial for any organization to guide decision-making, but translating that vision into business goals, metrics, and product roadmaps requires a well-thought-out strategy that balances and aligns four key pillars: performance measurement and goal setting, team structures and empowerment, rewards and incentives, and corporate culture. This course will take Chief Product Officers and their direct reports into how they can close the gap between long term vision and big ideas and unleashing product design that delights customers and stakeholders.
- Career prospects include roles such as Senior Product Manager, Program Manager, Agile or Product Coach, and Director of Products.
- The average salary for Senior Product Managers in the U.S. is $146,520 and Lead Product Managers in the US is $154,676. (Source: glassdoor)
- Over 51,000 open Senior Product Manager jobs on Linkedin as of September, 2021.
- Product Managers are one of the fastest growing jobs with a year-over-year growth of 29% (source: LinkedIn), with over 35,000 new positions posted each week on LinkedIn.
Meet your instructor from The University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), University System of Maryland (USMx)
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