Institute of Product Leadership
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5 Skills to move from Product Management to General Management

Candace Worley is Vice President and Chief Technical Strategist for McAfee. She manages a worldwide team of Technical Strategists responsible for driving thought leadership and advancing technical innovation in McAfee security solutions.

Prior to this role, Candace served as Vice President for Enterprise Solutions for the Intel Security Group at Intel Corporation. She had worldwide responsibility for all facets of product and vertical marketing for the complete corporate products solutions set.

Key Takeaways:

  • Product Managers have the advantage of being at the center of various business functions, providing opportunities for scaling into higher leadership positions.
  • To transition to higher leadership roles, Product Managers should develop key skills such as cross-functional collaboration, effective communication, and executive presence.
  • Deep understanding of the tech, market, and business aspects is crucial for effective decision-making and alignment of strategies.
  • Emotional intelligence plays a significant role in managing diverse personalities and aligning teams towards a common vision.
  • Developing general management skills, focusing on the big picture, revenue, profitability, and building credibility is essential for higher leadership roles.
  • Leadership goes beyond management and requires inspiring teams, being open to opinions, taking responsibility for mistakes, and delivering on commitments.

Worley joined McAfee in 2000 and has held a number of technology leadership positions in her McAfee career including, five and a half years as the SVP and General Manager of the Enterprise Endpoint Security business. Prior to joining McAfee in 2000, she spent seven years with Mentor Graphics, where she led a team of product managers responsible for electronic design automation and electronic component software.

Worley holds a bachelor’s degree in management from Oregon State University and an MBA degree from Marylhurst University.

In this webinar, Worley explained the advantageous position the product management role holds – since it is at the epicenter of various business functions, it provides easy access for scaling into higher leadership positions. That’s great news for Product Managers! But how do you go about this transition? Worley outlined 5 key skills all Product Manager’s should develop to move up to the next level –

  1. Product Management – This is your launchpad for leadership opportunities. Make sure you make the right noise and increase your visibility. At the same time, continuously hone your cross-functional skill set and communication skills and build executive presence
  2. Be Market Savvy – When it comes to the holy trinity of tech, market and business, understand the core inside out, so that you know which vertical needs more focus and how everything can be aligned.
  3. Emotional Intelligence – Leadership roles demand high interpersonal skills, and product management is no different. A product manager is dealing with various personalities from different verticals such as sales, UX, engineers,etc and trying to get them aligned to a common vision. Here his convincing powers and ability to convey the common vision goes a long way to get work done when he has no direct authority.
  4. General Management 101 – The focus become the big picture. You need to look at the complete business unit, and not just a specific vertical. Revenue and profitability assume higher importance and emotional intelligence becomes critical
  5. Management v/s Leadership – Management is execution and deployment of resources, which is necessary us a Product Manager. But for higher leadership roles, you need to inspire and build credibility to get the most from your teams. Be accessible and open to opinions, apologise when you make a mistake and always deliver your commitments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Candace Worley highlighted five key skills for Product Managers to develop:

  1. Product Management: Increase visibility, hone cross-functional skills, and build executive presence.
  2. Market Savviness: Understand the core of technology, market, and business to align strategies effectively.
  3. Emotional Intelligence: Manage diverse personalities and align teams towards a common vision.
  4. General Management 101: Focus on the big picture, revenue, and profitability while emphasizing emotional intelligence.
  5. Management vs. Leadership: Transition from execution and resource deployment to inspiring teams, building credibility, and delivering on commitments.

Candace Worley states that the product management role is advantageous because it provides easy access for scaling into higher leadership positions within an organization, as it sits at the epicenter of various business functions.

Candace Worley holds a bachelor's degree in management from Oregon State University and an MBA degree from Marylhurst University.

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