4 Common Mistakes First Time ScaleUp CPOs Make (And how to avoid them)

A ScaleUp CPO Role faces unique challenges compared to CPOs of later-stage companies, because of this there are common mistakes first-time ScaleUp CPOs make (yes, you may even be an experienced CPO and this may apply to you too if you taking a ScaleUp CPO Role).  

Below are Three of top mistakes made, with a brief explanation of why / how this is unique to the ScaleUp Phase of Growth.  If you would like a more in depth  info on the ScaleUp Stage see this article.  The 3 Phases of ScaleUp and Why it Matters

Mistake # 1 – Assuming the ScaleUp Chief Product Officer Role is merely a title change and it’s the same as being a VP role.   The “C” represents more than a title change, it represents business outcomes.  

This mistake happens to many ScaleUp CPOs as many of the CPO roles are filled by first-time CPOs of any kind, whether they are promoted from within or taking the role as experienced enterprise executive looking to accelerate into a C-Suite Role.

How to avoid it?

Connect with a coach. Join a peer group of ScaleUp CPOs, NOT just product people. Remember ScalingUp is a team sport and you are going to need a strong network to keep you accountable and level up.

To find your accountability buddy and network with your peers, join the ScaleUp Edge Community Network here.

Mistake #2 – Believing that getting the C title instantly gives you power and credibility.  Believing that the art of influence is not something you need to learn.

You’re coming in from the outside. You believe that just because you’re coming in with a C title, that you get to dictate everything. 

The hard truth is, you have to earn your right at the table. It is important to build influence and establish credibility. Just because you have the title does not mean you’re going to be looked at with open arms. You have to work to get it and you have to work to retain it.

One of the best ways to influence people is to make them feel important – Roy T. Bennett

How to avoid it?

Learn how to increase your sphere of influence and impact your delivery with the ScaleUp Exec Influencer Membership.

Mistake #3 – You think you can use the same language to speak to your team, your peers, and your stakeholders. 

If you think that you can use the same language with your current team as your new team, you’re mistaken. 

New team + new title = New language required. 

How to avoid it?

Learn to speak in the language of your new teams and most importantly your stakeholders. 

Mastering financial terminology is a critical step in your success as a ScaleUp CPO when speaking to stakeholders in the organization.

ScaleUp Edge is dedicated to helping ScaleUp CEO’s and their C-Suites be successful in this growth phase stage.  

How do we do that?

By building workshops to help increase your impact and influence. The Product Speak Workshop is dedicated to helping you build a formidable playbook. 

The job is hard but worth it.

Let us help you succeed, faster.

Mistake #4 – Getting so heads down in your work, you don’t build your network and global brand presence.   You are a key part of your companies brand and you wanted the C Role to help step up your career. Start early in the process to increase your influence.