April 27, 2020

163 | Growth & Evolution: How to Lead Teams Through the Unexpected – with Jaffrey Ali

Startups, by their very nature, experience a lot of growth and evolution over a relatively short period of time — and if they don’t, they fail. But simultaneously planning for growth and change, both internally and externally, is a difficult task for even the most experienced product managers.

Luckily, our guest today is not just an experienced product manager but also a growth specialist. Joining us is Jaffrey Ali, Chief Product Officer at FranConnect. Jaffrey has over 20 years of experience in technology companies plus experience with a variety of different startups, and he has developed a  skill for leveraging people’s greatest strengths, putting people in teams that work together, and then driving those teams to work effectively with strong product strategy — even when things don’t go according to plan.


Unexpected challenges

  • Every organization, and every person within an organization, has to be ready for the unexpected — so there needs to be a plan in place for when Plan A doesn’t work.
  • You can and should make a plan, but once reality hits, things are different. There are factors within your control and factors outside of your control.
  • The only surprise should be when things go according to plan.

How do you prepare a team (and yourself) for the unexpected?

  • Jaffrey considers the single most important attribute for any team member to be their engagement.
  • “Engagement is where teams work well together. You will always have disagreements, you will always have different skillsets… but if you’re always engaged, you will eventually succeed.”
  • The most successful tech products aren’t necessarily built by people with the best technical skills. It’s a combination of understanding customer needs, diverse skillsets, and teams that work well together — and that last bit is the most important thing.



About The Innovation Engine

Since 2014, 3Pillar has published The Innovation Engine, a podcast that sees a wide range of innovation experts come on to discuss topics that include technology, leadership, and company culture. You can download and subscribe to The Innovation Engine on Apple Podcasts. You can also tune in via the podcast’s home on Spotify to listen online, via Android or iOS, or on any device supporting a mobile browser.