The User's Guide

What if all of us had a better way to communicate how we prefer to work? What are our preferences?


Back in college, a good friend gave me a book by Phillip Keel called “All About Me” for Christmas. (Incidentally, the book is still available for purchase on Amazon) It’s a guided journal that allows for planning, self-discovery, and self-reflection. At first, I thought it was a bit silly but we both filled them out and discussed our answers. It was something I’ll never forget because it really challenged us to think and open up about so many things we had never shared with others. When I started working with Rachel Sanford (RMS Consulting) on different development classes, this book kept coming back to me. What if we used the same kind of idea but it was a User’s Guide on YOU? We discovered we could use the same principle to organize our thoughts about “the how” and “the why” of our individual work styles. 

In addition to learning about yourself and your co-workers, the User’s Guide also presented an excellent opportunity to talk about accountability and ownership in the workplace. No matter how many organizations Rachel and I work with, we almost always circle back to the topic of crucial conversations. The accountability and ownership guidelines allow those sorts of conversations to happen in an open and honest environment, and have proven to be a pivotal tool in workplace learning and team building seminars.


Using these guidelines, we could have more honest conversation about responsibility to the overarching organization and our place in it. The differences in our working styles can expose cracks in any organization but workplace diversity also brings varying perspectives and experiences which can spark creativity and growth for your team. Take some time to think about how you would structure your own User’s Guide and let it inform your next project or meeting. Trust me, you might surprise your co-workers and yourself.