Mastering Global Product Management: A Cultural Sensitivity Approach

In the ever-evolving world of product management, the quest to become a proficient coach and consultant knows no bounds.

As product managers, our reach extends beyond borders and cultures, and it is crucial to understand and adapt to unique perspectives of those we teach and advise.

Dean Peters, a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience, shares his valuable insights from his recent teaching endeavors in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and his dedication to fostering a global understanding of product management.

Approaching Product Management in the East

As a respected figure in the product management profession, Dean recently embarked on a journey to Saudi Arabia. He engaged with a group of dedicated product managers, imparting the principles of product management. His commitment to spreading knowledge goes far beyond regional boundaries, as later this year, he is set to teach optimal product management on an international scale. Dean’s track record includes leading agile product management cohort with participants residing in various corners of the world.

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The experiences Dean encounters during these global teaching ventures serve as a testament to the importance of cultural understanding. He reflects on the numerous opportunities he’s been fortunate enough to have throughout his career, collaborating with and mentoring individuals from diverse backgrounds. These experiences have emphasized a critical lesson – if he fails to adapt his instruction to align with the culture, learning styles, language, business, sports, arts, and even the food preferences of his audience, success and execution remain unattainable. Dean highlights his belief that, as a product management coach and consultant, the key to reaching full potential goes hand in hand with taking time to understand your audience’s unique worldview.

What did you have for breakfast today? Hummus & Dolmas in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

A Refreshing Approach

Dean’s approach is refreshing, as it encourages the breaking of stereotypes. He stresses the importance of letting go of pre-conceived notions and the need to go beyond westernized comforts. He shared the value he found in embracing local culture, even if it means starting the day with breakfast choices like Medames and Dim Sum. Dean shares a clear message: embracing diversity and immersing oneself in the local culture, no matter how unconventional it may seem, is a crucial step toward fostering effective cross-cultural communication and success in the field of product management.

Hear more directly from Dean, talking about his recent experience overseas. To delve deeper into Dean’s experiences and insights, we encourage you to read his original LinkedIn Post HERE.

Dean in Saudi Arabia hardware store. Flower pots and fire pits take on a whole new meaning here.

How do I teach product management outside of the U.S. without being the `Ugly American?` Perhaps it starts with enjoying Hummus & Dolmas for breakfast! As odd as that sounds, I think it’s important for those of us called to coach & consult to see the world through the eyes of those whom we instruct & advise. I’m in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia this week teaching some smart & hard-working product managers digital product management. Later this year, I’m teaching optimal product management abroad, and I recently I led a fantastic agile product management cohort with folks from around the planet.

These events remind me of similar experiences in my past, as I’ve been blessed throughout my 30-year career with opportunities to collaborate & mentor people around the globe. Awesome instances that taught me that if I don’t take the time to see my instruction through the lens of their culture, learning styles, language, businesses, sports, arts and culture … and food … then how can I expect them to succeed and execute on what I have to offer? The bottom line is, I can’t. And if that means not staying in Westernized hotels, not clinging to Americanized comforts, and yes … even if it sounds contrived … if it also means enjoying Medames or Dim Sum for breakfast, then bring it on!

BTW, the Dolmas & Hommos pictured above was SPECTACULARLY DELICIOUS!!! How about you? Why not share below in the comments? Oh, and if I’m in your time zone, let’s set up a call. If I’m in your city, let’s enjoy some coffee or tea … even if it’s not `Americano` style 😉

Dean Peters serves as a shining example of the 280 Group’s commitment to fostering a global perspective in the field of product management. Embracing Diversity, adapting to new environments, and savoring unique experiences are essential facets of teaching and consulting in the ever-expanding world of product management.


About the Author

Dean Peters

Principal Consultant & Trainer at 280 Group

Dean offers nearly twenty years of experience in product management, with a prior decade as a software developer for real-time system integration. Dean has presented on agile and product management topics at ProductCamp, ProductTank, Pendomonium, and Red Hat Agile Day. An on-and-off blogger, Dean’s writings on development and Agile have found their way into the product lexicon; the most recent example is his collaboration with ProductBoard on the 6 Nightmares of Product Managers.

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