June 11, 2022

User Manuals – For PEOPLE!

What if your team knew all your “secrets”? The things that fire you up, the things that drive you nuts, and all the “unwritten rules” about how to work best with you? 

I’ve hired people in the real estate & mortgage industry for more than 30 years. I’ve made some great hires, and I have failed a LOT.

Last year I was making a really important hire. Our Systems Boss for Ops Boss® Coaching. She would be the 10th member of the team and someone who works incredibly closely with me (as most integrators in small businesses do with their visionaries). I was nervous about the hire. She was our first hire that I had not already been in relationship with over months or years. And I know that I am not the partner for everyone.

I wanted to make sure whomever took on this role was prepared for taking ME on. AND I wanted to fully understand them as well. Being a coach, I see so many Team Owners and their Directors of Operations who DON’T communicate well. I was committed to leveling up.

I remembered Adam Hergenrother sharing his one page “User Guide” and I did some research, eventually settling in to the approach Jay Desai, Founder & CEO of PatientPing used for his “User Manual”. It took me about a month to get it written, edited by my team & close personal friends, and then re-written. (In my desire to be as transparent as possible, my team told me I was too hard on myself and forgot to say the “good things”. LOL)

Authenticity is one of our Core Values. I want every new hire that joins us to know our strengths AND where we are works in progress. So I incorporated my CEO User Manual into the interview process. I shared bits and pieces during interviews. And before the job was offered and signed, I shared the whole manual. I also had Brooke (our Systems Boss) write her own User Guide as part of her first 90 days.

The benefits have been overwhelmingly positive.The User Manuals:

  • Accelerate our pace
  • Help us have good conversations
  • Remind us that our relationship is as important as the work we are doing

Curious what our guides include?

My guide is 9 pages. Brooke’s guide is 8 pages.

Here are my CEO User Guide Sections:

  • Preferred Method of Communication (in order of preference)
  • Response Time
  • Availability
  • Brivity
  • Thought Process
  • Weekly 1:1’s
  • Questions/Learning
  • Feedback/Communication
  • Schedule/Boundaries/Expectations

Here are Brooke’s Systems Boss User Guide Sections:

  • Preferred Method of Communication (in order of preference)
  • Response Time
  • Availability
  • How I Work
  • My To Do List
  • Thought Process
  • Questions/Learning
  • Let’s Get Weaknesses Over With
  • Strengths
  • Habits I Am Working On
  • Knowledge That Is Important
  • Education Budget Ideas
  • Feedback/Communication
  • About Me Outside of Work

Here are some excerpts from our manuals:

Thought Process

“I count on your input. You were hired because you’re an expert in your field. I am not the expert in what you were hired for. I am always interested in the reason why you believe what you believe. Share your logic, particularly as we are building trust. Help me understand how your mind works. I may sound like I’m set in my beliefs because I am passionate. And I NEED people around me to bring new ideas and questions.”

“I work best by absorbing/downloading information then working independently to disseminate the information and form my thoughts and ideas – I need time to process things 🙂 I can give quick, “gut” or “instinct” responses or even think out loud and process with you, but I feel like my best answers come after i’ve processed. I like working with a leader that is hands off and gives me the freedom to work on my own then we can come back to look through and be a thought partner on what I’ve built.”

Response Time:

“I do not live in my email (having specific timeblocks for it are important to my productivity) so it is not the quickest way to get in touch with me – Messenger will get the fastest responses!”

Questions/Learning:

“I am only at grasshopper level when it comes to leadership. And I am studying, practicing, learning and growing daily. I expect every member of our team to be a leader. Starting with leading themselves.”

Feedback/Communication:

“I am a High D, which means you may feel I am brutally direct. If I’m providing feedback, it’s not emotionally charged. It means I have information to share which will help you/us be the best in our roles. I will also use emoji’s to show I heart you. Cuz I really do.”

“My top Strengthsfinders strength is Empathy. I have a big heart. So this softens the D. Our people (our team, our clients, our families) are EVERYTHING to me. I value getting to the point, and hate wasting time. The more direct I can be without feeling like I need to tiptoe, the faster our trust and relationship will deepen.”

“Don’t worry about mistakes. In my mind, failure is just feedback (unless you are failing at the same thing over & over). Feedback helps us get better. I am extremely passionate about our mission, vision, values & beliefs. I expect all decisions you make to be in alignment with them. I will tell you if I think you are out of alignment.”

Schedules/Boundaries/Expectations:

“If you got this far, you might wonder what you’re in for. It’s a lot. I’m a lot. AND I pride myself on long term relationships. I will celebrate my 40th wedding anniversary soon. And my team is like my family. If you’re reading this BEFORE being hired, please talk to our team. They are my second family and they will tell you about the full me. All of the above. As well as the good things I didn’t put into print here.”

“My aim is that every person who joins our team finds Ops Boss® Coaching, and me personally, to be a vehicle for both their personal and professional goals. We hope to be in business with each one for a long, long time.”

About Me:

“I care deeply about people and enjoy forming long lasting relationships across a variety of arenas. I like to laugh. I’m quirky and weird and a bit eccentric. I like pink, unicorns, baseball, music, dancing and Paris.
More than that, I love God, have a longtime marriage with my college sweetheart & love of my life. And family is important. Your family is important to me too.”

“I’m an old soul – I love antiquing, thrifting, vinyl records, reading hard copies of books, going to bed early, and I own a typewriter. That’s just a start. Some other things I love – really great conversations, spending time with the people I love, dogs, yoga, coffee, a glass of wine, walking on my under desk treadmill (and outside when its warm), making to-do lists and checking them off, being outdoors (watching sunsets, hiking, fishing, kayaking, camping), being creative (refinishing furniture, painting, embroidering, crocheting), exploring breweries, wineries, and coffee shops.”

BOTTOM LINE:

It turns out telling people all your “secrets” is a good thing. Brooke & I encourage EVERYONE to write User Manuals for PEOPLE! We think being purposeful in great communication is BOSSY!

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