March 6, 2024
Product Management

Are You Ready For It? A Key Strategy to Securing a Product Management Promotion

“It” being the promotion or new role you’re hoping to land soon. It’s an important question to ask and one many who are looking to advance their careers don’t stop to think hard enough about. Sure, you’re confident that you’ve mastered the key skills and you certainly have the right “product” mindset. You’re constantly learning, keeping up with industry trends, and you even have a mentor. But. Have you shifted your perspective? Have you started to think and act as a <insert new title here>? Have you started to think about how you would approach situations you’re facing today as a <insert title here>?

Taking this step will allow you to assess your true rate for the critical skills you’ll need in your new role. For example:


As a product leader, your success is a direct result of your ability to manage your product team through effective and strategic collaboration. In a senior level position, you’re going to have to influence, motivate, and enable larger and/or more senior level teams, including executives. Reflect on recent opportunities you've had to take charge of high-profile initiatives or to lead cross-functional teams toward ambitious goals. What were some of the challenges and the lessons you learned? Then step back to think about those challenges from the perspective of your new role. How would/should you handle things differently? 

Strategic Thinking 

You’ve relied on your strategic thinking skills to successfully drive your immediate product initiatives. Now’s the time to evaluate these skills on a larger scale. Can you define and articulate a clear long-term/future vision and roadmap and align your initiatives with broader company objectives? Successfully managing a roadmap for your immediate initiatives is a critical skill. But if you haven't considered or had the experience to think long term and even for more than one product at a time (depending on the role you are hoping to land), this is definitely something you will need to work on before moving up. 


Effective communication is critical to any role, entry-level or senior. We’re emphasizing it here anyway because your approach to communication will differ depending on who you’re communicating to at any given point in time. You'll likely communicate more frequently and in greater detail with your immediate team compared to senior management and executives. You’ll also have less face-to-face time with upper management compared to your immediate team. It’s important to determine how well you can effectively cover all of the critical details without getting in the weeds. Knowing how to communicate with all levels is something you’ll need to master quickly. 


Think back to your experience(s) with making decisions for your immediate product initiatives, specifically a few bad decisions. Did you receive feedback from your manager on any of those decisions? If you could go back and change your mind on a particular decision, ask yourself why and what brought you to the new decision. Now think about some of the decisions your manager has made for you or your team and try to understand the factors that they considered when that decision was made.  What can you learn from that analysis? 

What Else?

Leadership, strategic thinking, communication and decision-making are obviously just a few examples of the skills you’ll (most likely) need in your new role. There are other key skills you’ll need for the role that you’ll also need to analyze. Hopefully, though, these four examples give you an idea of what it means to shift your perspective and think as a <insert title here>. 

One More Thing About Shifting Your Perspective.

There’s one more benefit of shifting your perspective: it will also influence the development of your personal brand. Your personal brand, by the way (and contrary to popular belief), showcases more than your skills and experiences. It also showcases your core career values, beliefs, and goals. When properly defined, your personal brand becomes a tool that you can use to not only guide your career but to also help promote and market yourself. When properly defined,  you’ll be able to utilize your personal brand to promote your ability to think and act as a <insert title here>, allowing those in the position of hiring or promoting for this position to see the true value you bring. 

For more information on ways to change your perspective and prepare yourself for a new role, you may want to check out these resources:

  • How to Win Friends & Influence People: Dale Carnegie
  • Influence: Robert Cialdini
  • 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: John C. Maxwell
  • Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t: Simon Sinek

Colleen Beaton is a product management leader with a passion for healthcare and digital health. She has successfully spearheaded the development and execution of multiple product strategies designed to solve complex healthcare problems and improve the patient and provider experiences.