super-change your working relationships with a Personal Operating Manual
Helping others work with you
Everyone is different. And therefore one needs to change one’s style working with each and every person.
It is really hard to know a person -- especially when you just start working together. But that is the most important time to know them -- so you can adjust your communication style to have the best chance that your new colleague will be super successful.
My hack is that I send everyone that reports to me an “Auren Hoffman Operating Manual.” It is essentially a guide to me so that people that work with me best understand me. I also send it to the SafeGraph board of directors. (It is pretty personal, so I don’t post it publicly).
An Operating Manual is something you can put together so that your closest colleagues can understand you. It is important that you be as honest as possible so that when people see your faults, they have better context to understand them. Additionally, an Operating Manual lets people play to their strengths.
An Operating Manual also isn’t static -- I put a date on mine because I know it will change. It will change because (1) I can make it better; and (2) because I know I will change.
It is hard to put an Operating Manual together because it can be very raw -- and it is a weird ego trip to write 1-2 pages about yourself. It can make you self-conscious about your weird idiosyncrasies.
One big benefit of writing an Operating Manual is that you will understand yourself better. The exercise -- to concisely describe how you best work -- is really hard to do. And almost everyone that does it learns a great deal about themself. So there is a big benefit in writing an Operating Manual even if you don’t feel comfortable sharing it with your colleagues.
If you do share it (and you can just share it with your 3 closest colleagues), you can reap the benefit of your colleagues better playing to your strengths. And they will have more compassion for your weaknesses.
An Operating Manual is not a silver bullet. It is just one of many things that helps foster a stronger collaboration. If you like the idea, I encourage you to try it in the next few weeks. Before sharing internally, feel free to sit with it yourself.