A few years ago, I found myself listening to the same music downloads and playlists one too many times. Although I love music of all eras, I realised my tastes were stagnating, and I needed to do something to reboot my interest. I started what has become an April 1st annual purge of all music and playlists from my phone.
Now, 80% of the music I listen to each year is brand new. This has helped me discover new artists, experiment with new genres, and search for unexpected musical gems. I still listen to some music from prior years and eras, but my annual playlist purge has revitalised my interest in music.
Unexpectedly, I had a similar reboot as a leader in 2020. Like everyone, Covid-19 disrupted my plans and I had to shift my priorities to three areas: managing costs, ensuring cashflow, and creating new sources of revenue. The last priority had the most impact on my development.
Going into 2020, we planned to develop software that would help companies build growth capabilities. Covid prompted us to accelerate our efforts. We created Produgie, which is software that makes it easy to stretch, develop, and coach individuals and teams to drive business performance and growth. We named the software Produgie based on its root words, which mean: forward, leadership, and energy/give. Produgie’s purpose is to empower inclusive growth, and we feel that the name captures this purpose well.
Our minimum viable product was released in November to our alpha customers (3M, Marriott, Freshworks, and Maersk Logistics). Leading up to this, my learning curve was steep. I was responsible for integrating our existing intellectual property, which required me to translate tools and years of coaching and development research and experience into software that is easy to use. I had to completely rethink assessment, coaching, and leadership development to take advantage of the opportunities that software offered, and the limits it imposed.
I also had to learn how to lead, communicate, and teach others on our team how to develop something that did not exist. There is no similar product on the market today, resulting in a dynamic design process relying on user input and rapid iterations.
Finally, I had to learn to lead this work with developers and in an agile software environment. Quickly translating features into code and testing the results for accuracy and user experience became a part of my team’s weekly routine.
Learning in these areas was new, unexpected, and fun. I made mistakes and learned a lot, which helped me increase my growth mindset.
I hope you do something similar. Continue developing areas you’ve been working on, just as I will continue learning about software development. However, add something completely new to this to disrupt your habits and routines. You’ll make mistakes, but you will learn and have even greater impact in the long term.
In April, I hit “reboot” again and committed to learn about AI and Machine Learning in the coming year. I’ll also be building a data science team to conduct research and create new insights.
If you want to listen to some music while you think about your own leader development reboot, I’ve included a few of the songs I’ve discovered so far this year (artist, album/EP, song). Enjoy!