by: James Young

Despite its inclusive design, the product community is not for everyone. People with an innovative mindset are forward thinking, creative, open to experimentation, making mistakes and trying again. They are collaborative and progress-loving. Here is a list of traits for people who will thrive in the product community. 

  1. They have an innovation mindset. They consistently ask themselves: What’s coming next? How do we best get there? They balance immediate action with long-term vision. 
  2. They are resourceful. Participants are serial learners and creative problem solvers. They don’t always have the answers, but ask probing questions and build coalitions.  
  3. They collaborate across boundaries. Associations are typically organized by department, yet the world is much messier. Divergent perspectives sharpen outcomes.  
  4. They love to learn new things. The most successful members of the product community constantly learn new ways to solve problems. 
  5. They have a capacity for ambiguity. Innovation can be confusing and ambiguous. The ideal participant uses determination + collaborative support to find focus in the journey.  
  6. They check their title at the door. Finding shared focus to develop and bring new ideas to market takes broad buy-in and distributed leadership. 
  7. They experiment. The best participants experiment, share what they learn, admit mistakes, communicate regularly, contribute to the enterprise + justify their approach. 
  8. They maximize business impact. Success in the product community requires more than collaboration. Driving the business forward is critical to growth. 
  9. They are open. Associations are fast-moving and rife with change. Fires crop up and need immediate attention. Do you jump in and lend a hand or run for the hills? 
  10. They are engaged, committed, and ready to contribute. Successful participants approach their work with decorum and full engagement. 

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About the Author

James Young is founder and chief learning officer of the Product Community®. Jim is an engaging trainer and leading thinker in the worlds of associations, learning communities, and product development. Prior to starting the Product Community®, Jim served as Chief Learning Officer at both the American College of Chest Physicians and the Society of College and University Planning.