Do you have a user guide? ?️

November 8, 2021

Last week, when we partnered with Campus Philly for CREATE night, we received a lot of pertinent questions about navigating jobs and internships. Our panelists gave great advice including the importance of reflecting on how creativity can be found in unexpected places and how failures teach us the most.

Sharing approaches to collaboration, scaling learnings (especially from failure), and proactively inviting feedback are things I am always striving to do better.

This past summer, a colleague was telling me about how she and her team created a core set of principles for working together and a series of priority/growth questions to ask themselves each week. She noted that this was part of her work to build a set of personal operating principles.

I did some research and found that lots of folks are starting to write guides for collaboration and communication; some are called User Guides, others are called Personal Operating Systems.

Here are three of the best examples I’ve found (if you have others, please send them my way!):

I particularly loved where the guides noted where they sometimes get stuck and how team members could help. For example, in Working with Claire: an unauthorized guide:

“By the way, I am often overly generous with my time and say yes too often to things. If you see this, please flag it to me. Although I love meeting with people, I sometimes don’t spend enough time on the strategic stuff because I am working on other things. Help keep me honest.”

These sections are great proactive invitations for feedback, especially because they’re explicit. It seems like a great way to scale the impact of feedback and keep making progress.

I think when done well, these guides could enable deeper, faster creative collaboration. They also reminded me of our Venture Café Credo. This is our community framework or operating principles that outline the kind of space we aim to create every Thursday.

Have you built personal operating principles?  Are you interested in testing them out?

A special note: This Thursday is Veterans Day, and we look forward to honoring those who have served our country, in our Venture Café community. Please share with us their names so we can thank them, by sending a note to hello@venturecafephiladelphia.org.

Jen Rajchel