Shawn Coots, Director of Product Management and Experience Strategy at Humana in Louisville, Kentucky, talks about his path from comic-book illustrator to product manager.
Shawn Coots began his career as a comic-book illustrator. Though he realized quickly the path wasn’t right for him, he took its lessons in communications and how to convey a story to his true calling in product management. It has served him well in his role as director of product management and experience strategy at Humana in Louisville, Kentucky.
“Whenever I can draw something or tell a story visually, it's a really easy way to communicate complex ideas to large swathes of stakeholders, because you can look at a cartoon and understand it might be easier than if I were to dive into some sort of technical explanation of how this server connects to the experience layer, or what have you,” Shawn says.
The ability to communicate is one of the most important qualities for success in product management, he believes. “The key strength of a good product manager, in my mind, has always been one of translation,” he adds. “You really are attempting to bring clarity to a lot of different groups, and therefore you have to understand the language or familiarity that they're comfortable with.”
Learn more about Shawn’s take on language, communication, authenticity — and jargon — as well his own ladder to product management leader, on this episode of This Is Product Management.
Here are the highlights:
How to build language capability: 2:37
Bringing authenticity to work: 10:11
Shawn’s list of his most hated jargony buzzwords: 15:08