Welcome to the team! My goal is for your time at Float to be the most rewarding and satisfying in your career to date. I hope to learn a lot from working with you. We want to provide you with the support, tools and guidance to perform at your best. There’s a lot to learn, and the different ways we all work can be one of the most challenging and nuanced to discover, particularly in a fully remote team. This guide is written to help jumpstart our working relationship by sharing how I work.
Our automated weekly async check-ins are designed to get a pulse check on your priorities, how you’re progressing and how you’re feeling. I’ll review every one, and respond async where appropriate. We’ll agree on a cadence for our regular 1:1 meets. Almost every 1:1 I have is for 20 minutes, every other week. I’ll add talking points to the agenda ahead of time, and expect you will also. Talking points are typically themes in your personal development and progress that benefit from discussion. If you have a pressing question or update, please DM me in Slack and not wait for our 1:1. When we meet, I’ll sort the talking points in a logical agenda, and check them off once we’ve discussed them. If there’s an agreed action, the owner documents it. We’ll review progress against our actions at each 1:1. I find it effective to work off the agenda top to bottom, however if there’s time at the end, I’m open to discussing whatever topic is on your mind.
My aim is to provide you with regular feedback that is specific and actionable. I try to be honest and direct, and I tend to focus my feedback on the quality of your work. My intent it to avoid situations where you may be unsure of how I feel about your performance, and build the psychological safety for you to be open with me. Which leads me to my next point: Please give me feedback! I believe feedback is a gift. There are ways you’ll prefer to receive feedback, and times where you don’t agree with mine. You may find I have an annoying habit, or a style of communication that is confusing. As an example, I’ve been told that it is sometimes difficult to know if my feedback is direction to be followed, or advise to be considered. I’m working on ensuring that distinction is more overt. If you’re unclear about something I’ve said, please ask me to clarify. It’s usually that I haven’t been clear enough myself.
I typically work 8.30am to 5pm AEST, the start time differs depending on childcare drop-off schedules. I often open the laptop after Mara goes down in the evening, to catch up on administrative work, respond to DMs or do some reading. I usually do a bit of work Sunday evening, but I don’t expect others to be working on weekends and holidays, and I deliberately don’t post to Slack during these times. I don’t mind scheduling earlier meets when required, but please don’t schedule a meet with me after 5pm, or expect a non-critical response - this is time with my family. If I ask you a question via a DM, please try to respond within 24h on a work day. My default and preference for communication is Slack, but if you think a topic isn’t progressing well over chat, feel comfortable suggesting we switch to a Huddle or Zoom call.
I regard meetings as prized time, not to be wasted by you or I. I do my best to batch recurring meetings, usually at the start of my day. If you’re scheduling a meet with me, try to time it against another in my calendar, my calendar is publicly visible to help with this. If you schedule a meet, include an agenda, set the meet for the duration required, not just the calendar’s default duration. If the meet benefits from pre-reading, please send it to me with enough time to process it. I’ll come to the meet prepared and ready to discuss.
I appreciate direct and exact use of words. I see it as a reflection that you value my time. My written feedback can sometimes come across as blunt - know that my intent is to be clear and straight-forward. I appreciate the same in return. There’s no need to couch requests in flowery sentences, or talk around issues. I encourage editing often before sending.
I learn best by doing and seeing - show me, don’t tell me. It also means if there’s a problem, I might sketch out a design, or document a solution, or copy a spreadsheet to try out my own formula. By doing this, it this might come across as me trying to do your job for you. Know that this is not my intent, it’s just how my brain works!
One of the most satisfying feelings I have at work, is when we’ve both thought deeply about a problem, have varying and often differing views about a solution, and we come together to workshop a solution that’s better than any we would have otherwise devised individually. I believe the best ideas win, which means my ideas often aren’t the solution. I’m conscious of my hierarchical role biasing opinion, but historically, evidence shows my ideas often are not the winners! Inversely, a pet peeve of mine is when presented with half-baked ideas and asked for a blanket opinion. Please don’t ask me to do the work if you haven’t. If you’d like to sense check progress on a project, please be specific on what it is you are doubting or need help on.
I have a high appreciation for routine, consistency and stability. If a process has been working in the past, I’m averse to changing it without strong conviction. It can be a blindspot, where change is justified, so please challenge my beliefs where you see opportunity for improvement as we scale. That said, I’m orientated toward realism and pragmatism and don’t have a lot of patience for reviewing work in abstract frameworks, or future dream states, that won’t translate to material action and improvement.
In your first few months, I’m looking for signals that demonstrate that ‘you’ve got this’, that you are leading decisions, asking less of my opinion, and taking more initiative. Great team members at Float lean in, ask thoughtful questions, and share opinion backed by their domain expertise. They’re active, not passive. That’s what I’m looking for. In these early stages it might feel like I’m micro-managing - my goal is for you to know early and often when we’re on track or where I think we’re veering off it. Over time, and as trust builds, this feedback will occur less often.