User Manual for working with Jacob
The point of this user's guide is so you and I can kickstart our working relationship and skip the first 6-12 months of getting to know the basics about one another's preferences, quirks and personality traits.
Everyone is weird, and this document outlines the particular ways in which I happen to be weird. If we'll be working together as colleagues or in a client/consultant relationship, these things will become evident after a while anyway – so I figured I might as well put them on the table on day one.
More about this user manual:
Podcast interview (på norsk):
Top 5 things I wish you'll keep in mind when working with me
- I try very hard to protect my focus and avoid distractions. This means my preferred communication style is via text (ideally in Asana if your request is in any way linked to a task or a project). Please don't call me unless something is on fire somewhere, metaphorically speaking. It also means you should not expect a reply from me immediately, on any channel – asynchronous and intentional communication is what I believe in – not real-time, ever-disturbing Slack notifications at all times.
- I never do meetings before lunch if at all possible. I'm most productive in the morning, and I need to spend that time on deep work and important projects, not context switch in and out of meetings. Please keep this in mind when scheduling meetings I should be a part of 😇
- My calendar and my Asana todo list are sacred: if you want to know what I'm up to, just check my calendar or my Asana tasks for the day. Please do NOT assume I'm free for meetings or other arrangements when I have calendar slots booked up for deep work (like writing, for example).
- I don't improvise well, so I need time to think and prepare: I'm happy to help you with a project, or provide input on whatever you want input on. But I need time to have a look at it on my own first, and think about it for a while (a day perhaps, or at the very least an hour!). Only then can I provide feedback that's useful and valuable.
On a similar note: I tend to talk slower than many people, because I like to think before I speak. This means it can be hard for me to get a word in if I'm in a conversation with one or more people who "think and talk simultaneously". Please give me a few seconds extra to think about what to say before jumping in if you want me to contribute my best to the conversation 🙂
- My feedback can be harsh, but it's always well intended: I care deeply about Braver, and want us to be associated with high quality in everything we do. When I provide feedback on other people's work, I have a strong tendency to point out what I think can be improved, while underplaying what's already great about it. My feedback can also be very direct, because that is how I personally like to receive it. I know this can put some people off. If that's you, please let me know. And know that what might sound like one-sided criticism from me is always well intended, and rooted in a deep desire to deliver quality and to build a culture of honest feedback as a basis for continuous improvement. (For more on this, see this 6-minute youtube clip: How to have an idea meritocracy in any organization, by Ray Dalio - or this 16 min TED talk from Ray)
- I'm a generalist who can do "most things" fairly well: in the sphere of general business operations, I know a bit about "everything" (tech, finance, operations, marketing, writing, business models, strategy...). This works well for me in my role. There are, however, downsides. I don't feel like I'm an expert at anything, which sometimes makes me underestimate my own expertise and worth as a business professional and consultant. I also tend to end up with many tasks that "don't fit anywhere else", which can drain my time, energy and motivation. I wish my colleagues would keep in mind (and I also have to remind myself) that just because I can do something, or even might be good at it, that doesn't mean it's something I should do.