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Julie's User Guide

I’m delighted to be working with you! And I’m excited for all the things we’ll learn from each other! I already have high expectations that our collaboration together will yield incredible results :) That said, we are different people shaped by different life experiences, and we probably have different preferences and styles for how we like to work.
I’m writing this user guide to give you a better handle on me and my unique values, quirks, and growth areas so that we can develop the strongest relationship possible. I encourage you to do the same and share your user guide with me as well.
How I view success
A manager’s job is to continually aim for better and better outcomes for her team. If my team is not happy or not producing good work, then I am not doing a good job. A manager’s three major levers for better outcomes are people—hiring, coaching, and matching the right person with the right role; purpose—clarity on what success looks like; and process—clarity on how to best work. Of these three levers, I believe people is the most important.
Success is constantly learning and getting better. You can’t control all the outcomes, and if you aim high you will sometimes fail. But no matter the outcome, there are always lessons to be mined. Those learnings are yours to keep forever.
The path to success matters as much as the outcome. Everyone gets lucky sometimes. But if you’re good, your success will be sustainable because it’s your process that works.
It’s better to set ambitious goals that you don’t always meet, than to sell yourself short.
You can always do and be better.
Success without integrity is like a car without an engine.
How I communicate:
I am clearer in writing than in person. In person, I may talk my thoughts out loud which can feel rambly. If my point is not absolutely clear, please ask me to clarify or to be precise with action items.
Because a lot of my job is nurturing creativity, my preference is for others to come to the right solution with their own conviction, not to tell others what I think the right solution is. However, I recognize that sometimes the most pragmatic and efficient thing is to be clear with my opinion early on so we can resolve major misalignments. If I am not being clear and you worry we may not be seeing eye to eye, please let me know.
I like to be engaged in conversations and presentations and show respect to the speaker. I will often smile and nod along to encourage the speaker. It doesn’t mean I agree with everything that is being said.
I am continually working on being more direct, especially about concerns or things I don’t think are going well. I commit to always giving you feedback. If it doesn’t feel like I am being direct enough, please let me know.
I place a lot of value on having a clear big-picture narrative and being able to to speak to the meaning behind the work, as well as what’s exciting about it. If you aren’t sure why we are doing something, please ask.
I prefer email for asynchronous communication. Please use email if you’re describing an issue with a good deal with context. I respond to most things within 2 work days, so if I’ve been slow, re-ping me as I do sometimes miss things. If something is urgent or easy to respond to, feel free to message me over chat, and allow me the rest of the day to respond.
If you feel something is better discussed with me in person, don’t hesitate to drop a note to my admin with what you’d like to talk about. If you are a direct report, I will try my best to move things around so we can meet as soon as possible--it’s extremely important to me that you feel you always have time when you need it. If you are not a direct report but I can be of help to you, then we’ll schedule time during the next available office hours block. Occasionally, I’ll lack the necessary context to be useful, and in those cases I will decline the meeting and suggest another person who would better be able to assist you.
Things I do that may annoy you or be misunderstood:
I am that archetype of the “high expectations Asian parent,” so I can seem demanding, critical, and never satisfied rather than supportive, encouraging, or empathetic. Since then, I've come to learn that different people respond better to different styles. Please know that I am always in your corner, and I care about you deeply, even as I work on showing that better.
I am on the hyper-rational end of the emotional spectrum. This can be annoying when you share a problem or feeling with me, and I respond with a bunch of rationalized suggestions, when what the situation called for was listening and empathy. I am working on being better attuned to this.
I am generally more focused on inputs than outputs. This means that if there is a positive outcome, but the process in getting there didn't seem sound or intentional to me, I might not see it as cause for celebration. This can be frustrating if you are more focused on outputs than inputs.
I am frequently late to meetings, like 1-5 minutes late. Sometimes there is a good reason, but 80% of the time, the reason is that I suck at punctuality, and need to get better at it. You should call me out when this happens.
I can fall into the bias of assuming everyone has the same context as I do, and as a result, not communicate the context or my perspective as clearly or as broadly as I should. Please remind me to provide more context if I do this.
Being a designer, I am very comfortable with ambiguity and living in the gray zone where there is potentially a better idea just around the corner. This can be annoying to people who want to nail down specifics or who want to commit to plans and then not change them.
I'm optimistic and see the best in others, and sometimes that can strike others as naive or unrealistic when I'm convinced a tough situation can be fixed with greater effort versus a more structural change.
What gains and loses my trust:
The easiest way to win my trust is to care about doing a good job and to be transparent about what you think is going well or not well. I admire people with keen self-awareness, who are constantly looking to learn, and who admit their challenges and growth areas readily. I also admire people who go out of their way to ask others for feedback—whether about a piece of design work, a project proposal, or their own behavior—and use it to improve their work or their behavior. Conversely, if I hear about a big problem on your team not first from you, it will make me assume that either a) you are oblivious to the issue, or b) you didn’t want me to know, both of which will erode my trust. I am suspicious of those trying to sell me on a narrative that everything is perfect, or that there is nothing they could have done any better.
Another thing that builds my trust is extreme ownership of a problem. I am impressed when someone goes out of her way not just to identify a problem, but to rally the right people and processes in solving it. I love it when people use all the resources at their disposal—including me—to overcome challenges in their path. Conversely, my trust is lost with those who incessantly act like victims and who complain about problems and expect them to be solved by others.
I appreciate people who make commitments and stick to them. If you are the overly optimistic type (I am one as well), who tends to overcommit to more than can be reasonably done, I expect you to come to recognize and improve on this over time, and to reset expectations as soon as you realize a commitment cannot be fulfilled. I lose trust in people who repeatedly fail to honor their commitments to do X by Y.
I build trust easily with those who dream big, who skew toward optimism instead of cynicism, and who manage to translate that optimism into actionable plans.
If you give me critical feedback about a colleague and you have not yet delivered the message to that person directly, I will suggest you do that first before. I am happy to help you work through the best way to share feedback, but I have little tolerance for office politics and espousing a culture where people complain about their colleagues behind their back. If I observe you frequently saying things that you'd be embarrassed to have someone else overhear (or be printed in the press), it will erode my trust in you. I have low tolerance for drama, unprofessional behavior, or disrespect among senior leaders.
If I give you repeated feedback about your work or your behavior and nothing changes as a result, it will diminish my trust in you. I will do my best to debug why this is happening, as perhaps my feedback was not clear, or my expectations are miscalibrated, but please help me to understand this as well.
I value creating a respectful workplace, and I have little tolerance for people who are disrespectful to others.
It’s easier for me to build trust with you if you treat me like a human and a peer, versus someone you are trying to impress. I will trust you more if you give me good feedback, or if you challenge what I say in a thoughtful manner.
My Strengths:
Strong relationships. I get along well with most everyone and have built up strong credibility and trust with many leaders across the company. I am excited to meet new people and learn from them. If I can help you have more impact through my relationships, please let me know.
Staying calm, collected, and optimistic. I don't get overly emotional, and I do a good job of staying balanced. I like to look for the good in everyone and in every situation, and I believe things can be great. This makes me effective at pitching projects, giving presentations, and selling candidates.
Long-term focus. I think long-term when it comes to prioritizing people, strategy, and initiatives. I usually have a long-term vision for where I'd like things to be, and lots of ideas for how we might get there.
Thoughtful intentionality: I am strategic, I am a planner, and I like to gather context and feedback to understand a problem deeply before venturing a solution. This means that I generally have a good rationale for why I think what I think, or have a framework in mind when working through a problem.
My growth areas:
Directness and simplicity in communication: I want to work on cutting through the noise more, and closing the gap between what I want to express and what others hear. I'd also like to get better at quickly diving into the heart of complex issues and turning them into principled frameworks.
Execution/follow-through: I'm great at idea generation but I could be tighter about diligently tracking execution and pushing on follow-through.
Storytelling and personal connection: I'd like to more effectively build personal connections with others through storytelling.

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