Foster the Product: Leading teams and aligning stakeholders toward a common vision

The role of a product manager resembles that of a football coach along several dimensions. Both lead teams of people with diverse skills and backgrounds. Both need team members to execute their role while pushing the team toward a common purpose. Both need the support of internal and external stakeholders to succeed.

So, who better to discuss these parallel goals than Chris Petersen, former head coach of the UW Huskies?

“Coach Pete” spoke on the topic of “leading teams and aligning stakeholders toward a common vision” in the February 4 edition of the UW Foster School’s monthly “Foster the Product” series.

Coach turned professor

The first two-time winner of the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award and the 2010 Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year, Petersen was the fastest active FBS coach to reach 100 career victories—in just 117 games. He coached Boise State to two undefeated seasons before leading the Huskies to a College Football Playoff and New Year’s bowl games in 2016 (Peach), 2017 (Fiesta) and 2018 (Rose).

Chris Petersen at the 2018 Rose Bowl.

Chris Petersen at the 2018 Rose Bowl.

Petersen led his teams to off-the-field excellence as well. Instilling his “Built for Life” philosophy in his players—through a focus on character development, academic success and life skills—his teams rose to the top of the PAC-12 Conference in Academic Progress Report, achieving the highest four-year APR score in the history of major college football from 2015-2018.

Petersen is serving as the Edward V. Fritzky Endowed Chair in Leadership at the Foster School for the 2020-2021 school year.

Next up…

Foster the Product, presented by the new Product Management Center at the UW Foster School of Business, is an opportunity to connect with people and ideas that can advance a product career. Regular sessions take place the first Thursday of every month.

The next Foster the Product event takes place February 18 at 4:30 p.m. PST. Jackie Bavaro, noted author and veteran product leader at Google, Microsoft and Asana, will offer practical advice for any potential product management professional on “cracking the PM career.”

Then on March 4 at 4:30 p.m. PST, Vishal Ghotge, the chief product officer at Payscale, will speak on “OKRs and how to successfully implement them in your organization.”

After each talk and Q&A, attendees will have an opportunity for networking and guided discussion.

To register for the Jackie Bavaro event, visit:

To register for the Vishal Ghotge event, visit:

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