Operating Manual

How to work with me.

Pretty much every physical or digital product comes with an operating manual – a user guide that explains how the product works. Why should working with humans be left to guessing? The purpose of this operating manual document is to help you know more about me and how I work in an effort to make working together as transparent and easy as possible to set us both up for success.
Jason Julien is a design leader

1. Personality

  • Meyers Briggs (INFP-A “Mediator”) - Mediators have the gift of empathy and share a sincere curiosity about the depths of human nature. Introspective to the core, they’re exquisitely attuned to their own thoughts and feelings, but they yearn to understand the people around them as well.

  • Kolbe A™ Index (6 4 3 7) - I excel in tactile talents that help me figure out clues often overlooked by others. I lead the hunt to find physical evidence and build solutions that have great usefulness.

  • Criteria Insights (overview) - My notable traits are Motivated, Cooperative, Patient and Open to Experience.

  • D.I.S.C.

💪🏽 Strengths

  • Diplomacy The name Jason means peacemaker. I have an innate ability to diffuse stressful situations and to find alignment and compromise between differing opinions.

  • Empathy I have a strong desire to learn everything I can about other people to understand why they think a certain way and why they do what they do.

  • Systems I love how design can be used to connect the dots to align individuals and teams, and ultimately drive impact.

  • Thinking I am an inventive and independent outside-of-the-box thinker with excellent analytical skills. I can solve the problem or inspire others to push it further.

🚧 Blind Spots

  • My imaginative, introspective nature doesn’t always lend itself to productivity. If left unchecked it can be a challenge to buckle down and get things done. It isn’t that I’m incapable – just need to commit to a course of action and lean into “done is better than perfect”.

  • I can be self-critical. I believe in my unique potential, and desperately want to live up to it. But this can cause me to have unrealistic expectations for myself.

  • I am striving to be more communicative in general to be sure that I am appropriately sharing knowledge and vision for the team.

2. Culture + Values

🏝️ Psychological Safety

Psychological safety is the belief that one can take risks without fear of negative consequences, and it’s essential for encouraging creativity and innovation. We all bring unique talents to the mix and our diversity, backgrounds and experiences are what lead to the most creative solutions and ensure we are best representing our customers. I strive to create an atmosphere of trust among individuals and teams so people can be themselves and lean into their strengths with confidence.

🏃🏽 Perseverance

Ownership, goal setting, commitment to deadlines and follow-through are all very important to me. If we take the time to plan, prioritize and set goals and timelines then we should aim to stick to them. I know that priorities change, deadlines slip and sometimes things are out of our control. Acknowledging and communicating changes or delays is important as soon as we know.

3. Collaboration

🛎️ Responsiveness

Not all things are urgent and important. I try to respond quickly but if I’m being pinged constantly with lots of little messages, requests, meetings, etc. by multiple people the day can quickly be overtaken by context switching. If you write a thoughtfully formatted message you will tend to get a more thorough response. In other words, the more context you give the better I can help.

🧠 Answer Man

I am not the answer man. It would be amazing if I had all the answers but I’m the first to tell you I don’t. I love finding them though and feel that if you are on my team then you should like to find them too. Come to me with a problem and a proposed solution (or even how you already solved it) and we will get along great. If you come to me to complain about something or someone I will probably respond with “how do you propose to solve this problem?” Ultimately, your job is not to make things pretty or push pixels or post-it’s but to help the company build the right products. It is your responsibility to find solutions, not just problems.

🤝 Trust

I do not micro-manage so expect you to own your work and go out of your way to solve problems with all of the resources at your disposal. Understanding the problem in full, pulling in the right people early and often, and ultimately pushing things to the finish line is on you. I am a resource and here to help you but not give you all the answers (see above). Be transparent, communicate, do what you say you’ll do when you’ll say you’ll do it and you’ll have all my trust.

🙅🏽 Trust Erosion

I hate having to add this section but in the sake of transparency, here we are. The quickest way to lose my trust is if you don’t do your job, don’t ask for help, and as a result don’t meet the team’s, customers, or the company’s expectations. Don’t over commit and under deliver. Don’t act like a victim and complain about the same problems repeatedly, without working on a solution.

4. Communication

💬 1:1s

Each team member is wired differently so need different forums or frequencies to feel connected, have a safe space for working out problems, dedicated time to focus on coaching, goals and individual growth. Therefore I setup 1:1s accordingly and adapt to meet my team member’s needs - be it weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly.

📫 Channels

With the move to remote work, the need to be available and open for communication is paramount. It’s very easy to use too many tools which can be overwhelming and lead to lost messages. Depending on the company, some channels may or may not still be used (e.g. Fax, Email, etc.). I tend to check email less frequently and really only use it for more formal things. I tend to use Slack for most communication - feel free to shoot me a Slack to give me a heads up for something you need feedback on, a decision I should make, or something I need to be aware of.

⏱️ Async

So much time is wasted in meetings, or while waiting for meetings. There are many tools that allow us to connect in an asynchronous manner to keep things moving forward, especially in regard to early designs (user flows, lo-fidelity wireframes, etc.). Linking to a prototype for feedback, recording a quick video or screen-capture to highlight a small design enhancement or feature can shave precious time off of the design approval process or while soliciting feedback from various partners.

🛰️ Over-communicate

It’s better to overdo it than under-do it. Feel free to add me to anything (chats, docs, meetings, emails, slack groups, etc.) that you think I should be aware of or where I could add value. I would rather be in the loop than not being aware that a meeting happened or a decision has been made.

5. Recognition + Feedback

🏆 Giving Recognition

I find that I’d rather give big recognition for big things rather than a bunch of small recognitions for little things. That can come across as being unappreciative but I am aware of this and continually working on it. Know this, I have a high bar for recognition so when you do get it you know it is real and genuine and was truly earned.

🙌🏽 Receiving Recognition

Who doesn’t like to be recognized? While I don’t like to be called out in the middle of a group without some sort of notice, I do love to receive recognition and praise. As a leader, the feedback loop changes from days to months so it can take much longer to see and feel the impact. If you think I’m doing a good job, let me know!

🎁 Giving Feedback

I believe that feedback is a gift. Feedback, even when critical, is meant to help individuals grow and become the best version of themselves they can be. Casual feedback can be given in person (or video) or via Slack. If it’s more critical in nature or performance related I will tend to deliver that in a more thoughful way so that nothing gets lost and translation and will give an opportunity to discuss it.

📩 Receiving Feedback

As mentioned above, feedback is a gift and I love receiving it. It is a two-way street and I expect that you will feel comfortable to give feedback to me too. (Many times I’ll ask for it in our 1:1s!). If the feedback is critical in nature I prefer to receive it in written form first so that I have time to process it (also, it makes you think as you write which leads to more valuable feedback). Afterward, it’s good to follow up with an in-person talk to dive into the feedback in more detail.

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© Copyright 2023 Jason Julien