Creating a “How to work with me” Guide


Not Everyone Knows How To Work With You

When you're adding new people to your team, they're stepping into a team dynamic and starting to work with a bunch of people they have no history with. In other words, they don't know how to work with you in the best way possible.

Consider creating a “how to work with me” guide. It's fast, easy and I'm going to show you exactly how to do it.

Creating A How to Work With Me Guide

What you're trying to do, when creating a guide for how to work with you, is to introduce the paradigms you leverage, the frameworks you use, and the lens thru which you see things.

One of my most favorite employees ever, who now is over at Pressable (a great place to host your WordPress sites), once said – “I never come to a meeting with you without having an answer to the first question you're always going to ask.

What she was saying is that I was incredibly predictable about my first question. The benefit of that was that she knew what I was going to ask, so she could come prepared with the answer.

But someone shouldn't have to work with you for years to figure that out. Creating the perfect “How to work with me” guide is taking all that experience, tightening that up, and delivering it to people before they start working with you.

Topics to Cover in your Guide

The example above is a perfect one that fits in this list of things to cover.

  • Any questions you're always going to ask
  • Any paradigms you value above all others (even if they're controversial)
  • Any frameworks you use that others need to learn / leverage
  • Any strategies you use to made decisions
  • Any defaults you want others to be aware of
  • How to prepare for meetings / conversations with you
  • How to approach you with questions / for advice

Let's dig into each of these and I'll give you an example.

Questions you're going to ask
For me, I'm going to start every conversation about a problem or about an opportunity in the same way. Every. Single. Time. So it helps that you know it. My question is, “how big is the problem?” or, “how big is the opportunity?” In other words, I'm going to give it energy that is inline with the size of the issue or opportunity (not more, not less).

Paradigms (How you see things)
I'm an “outside in” person instead of an “inside out” person. It's how I see things and this impacts how I respond to others. If they approach me with an “inside out” idea, I'm likely going to nix it. But if they can shape it into an “outside in” idea, then I'm likely going to look on it more favorably. It doesn't matter if my way of seeing things is right. It matters that others understand how I see things, so they can shape them for my consumption.

If you've read stuff on my blog, attended a talk, or signed up for one of my courses, you've likely heard me talk about segments and micro-segments. So it's worth explaining that to the new folks that are joining you team. Why make them learn the hard way?

Are there particular strategies that people need to know when they work with you? For example, I have a prioritization worksheet that leverages 10 questions. These are ten I use all the time. And my scoring algorithm is critical to how I prioritize new ideas. So this is worth sharing.

Again, this isn't a right or wrong dynamic. It's simply what it is. If you have certain defaults, let people know what they are. It's by far the easiest way to help them work with you. I'm a storyteller. Every time I hear someone tell me stuff, I want the narrative. I want the context. And every time they ask me something, they should prepare for a story.

My Most Recent Guide to Working With Me

We're in the middle of buying a few companies and tucking them into a single entity that I'll soon run. Already I'm getting pulled into conversations with top leaders who will soon report to me. So I did exactly what I'm suggesting you do. I created a how to work with me guide.

Here is what I wrote. (If you know me, nothing here will surprise you.)

The first question I always ask – what’s the size of the problem or what’s the size of the opportunity?

This should never come as a surprise. If we’re going to talk about an issue or an opportunity, it’s where I start. If the answer is nebulous (“I’m hearing people are thinking..”), it’s better to track down the specifics before our conversation starts.

A paradigm I work with in is called  “outside in” – and it’s a market orientation.

Instead of an “inside out” approach, where we start with what specialties or resources we have and sell those out, we start with what we’re hearing from outside and use that to determine what we focus on inside.

I love working on multiple things at once, but there’s a method to the madness.

I’ll regularly leverage the concept of segments and micro-segments to guide what we’re doing. It will shape our offers, prices, marketing and stories. And what works in one may not work in another.

We’ll use an algorithm to prioritize projects so that we’re all aligned.

Alignment is a superpower. A lack of alignment will destroy us. So I have a methodology that allows us to brainstorm tons of new / fresh ideas. But our focus will be governed by a scoring algorithm that keeps the important things important.

As a serial entrepreneur, I embrace risks. But I have a low tolerance for them.

I’ll regularly ask about our contingency plans – the ways we’ve already considered to mitigate risks. This shouldn’t come as a surprise and we should always have a backup plan.

I’m a huge fan of domain expertise but one thing is more important to me than that.

I love making decisions from a position as an expert and I’ve spent decades becoming an expert is several things. But what I love even more than expertise is an execution-orientation. If we don’t act because we’re waiting for even more info, we’ll never act, and miss all the opportunities.

High performers have four things in common. It’s my hope that our entire leadership team embrace these.

  • Ownership – high performers want the ball in the last two seconds of the game. They want to take the shot. They want to challenge themselves.
  • Results-orientation – high performers know that possession isn’t everything. If you don’t have the highest score at the end of the game, you lose. High performers hate losing (often more than they like winning).
  • Non-stop learning – high performers spend just as much time learning and improving as they do performing and performing exciting. They know they can get better and they regularly focus on it.
  • Communicators – high performers understand that being understood is partly up to them. They work hard to not be misunderstood. They know that clarity of thought can come from clarity of expression.

I’m a storyteller and use stories for just about everything.

When you share with me things, make sure I have context. It means a demo often starts with a story. When I’m explaining things to you, or answering a question, be prepared for a story. 🙂

I have a framework for that…

Lastly, I have frameworks for everything. I mean it. 20+ years of coaching has resulted in the creation of 60-100 frameworks that I use and share regularly.

It Doesn't Need to Be Long

What you've likely already noticed is that this “guide” doesn't have to be really long. In fact, the longer it is, the less likely it will be read. Keeping it short and focused also helps you narrow down what you're sharing to the absolutely most essential ways to work best with you.

Want help creating your own? Hit me up on Clarity.

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