On the great list of all metrics worth tracking, somewhere high on the list, is your product. What are you producing? How’s the quality? Are you producing enough? Is that effort generating the results you want? These are essential questions to explore on a regular basis. In fact you can take charge of your productivity, simply by defining, owning, and measuring what it is that you produce.
These days, products take many different forms. In fact, defining where products stop and services begin is really tricky in the Information age. There’s service as a product (SaaP), product as a service (PaaS) and a lot of confusing, blurry areas in between. For a more functional, modern definition of what a product is, how about this:
Products are ideas that are given form to add value to others. The creators of the product are responsible for its quality. And owners act as stewards of that quality.
Products do not have to be physical. They can be packaged ideas, like software, or even a methodology. They can be experiential, like services, video games, and roller coasters. The roller coaster is part of the product but so is the experience of the ride.
Products represent and embody your brand when you are not around. They are the chief experiential marketing collateral for any brand. Products are physical expressions of our values and perceptions. They allow us to scale and grow. They bring value to more people than we can meet face to face in a day, and create opportunities to entice people to share more with us in many forms of value.
Owning what we produce and how we produce it, transforms our work into our craft. We are rewarded with a craftsman’s pride; a sense of service and worth that allows us to experience greater flow in our work. Ownership through craftsmanship is an aspiration worthy of encouragement for those seeking high performance and more productivity for themselves and/or their teams.
What you produce speaks volumes about the level of integrity with which you operate at the moment of production. Did you make strategic considerations to ensure that your product would deliver value for consumers and your returning customers, or did you put it together last minute? Is it a finished product? These are but a few questions that even the largest enterprises fail to stop and explore from time to time.
For those in the service industry, or those with specialized roles inside an organization, it can be challenging but immensely valuable, to clearly define your product. Products come in different, nuanced forms.
Think about what you put down on paper or build with your own two hands. Are you laying bricks or dropping truth bombs in documents and reports? Whatever those key things are that you produce, they are products of your personal and professional brand. Many things we produce are taken for granted, dismissed and devalued. Yet, when we take a bit more ownership, and put a little bit more excellence into them, they get noticed and great things can happen.
From a performance and productivity standpoint, our products are anything we generate with our own two hands. Sure, we may like to avoid ownership of a lot of things, but would our lives be better off if we did? I think so.
Here are a few products that are taken for granted everyday:
- Moms and Dads pack lunches for their kids. How much love and consideration is packed each day? Kids measure this stuff (ultimately), just as customers measure products.
- A great meal – TV dinner or farm to fork?
- A clean home – I know many dedicated and underappreciated neat freaks out there. We love you.
- A refined, edited document – Again, the guy who solves problems we never have to see. My editor Mike Penfield for example.
- An organized office – I still think these are about as common as unicorns for really productive people, but I’m open to the idea.
- A TPS report – What’s this I hear about you having trouble with your TPS reports? Someone needs these?
- A handwritten note, sent through snail mail
- Sales and marketing collateral – The better armed your sales and marketing team, the more successful they can be.
- An outreach email – Yes you can create these in a hurry and generate spam, or put a little more care into them and increase the engagement.
- A birthday card – Or anyone with a shop on Etsy, you know who you are. Keep it up!
Just about anything you can experience or create can be a product. Calling attention to what we produce, and raising our awareness as to its potential, is a Heroik metric and an empowering tool.
Whatever you are producing, here are a few questions to consider regarding taking account of your products and production process:
- Are you doing what you can to make your products excellent?
- Do your products embody your values and aspirations?
- Are you committing enough Time, Effort and Energy (TEE) to achieve the quality standard on par with your brand?
- More importantly, are you measuring / comparing the two?
- What tweaks can you make to increase your rate and/or quality of production – without selling yourself short of course?
The more you think about the things you produce as products of your personal brand, and the more you are aware of this connection, the more mindful your decisions and output will be.