Typically it takes months or even years to learn all of a leader’s quirks. What they like, what annoys them, and (most importantly) how they uniquely define a rockstar top performer. We stumble our way toward discovering what our leaders value through trial and error, which can be slow and painful.
We like to move fast so with a batch of hires, I thought I would try something new and avoid the long process of letting the new members of my team figure me out the hard way. Instead, I would put it all out there by being completely transparent, honest, and candid with them right from the get go.
So, to help me do that, I wrote something I call:
The blueprint to Luc and his quirks
This is my original blueprint:
Now, judging by the reaction I get when I tell people about the blueprint, I know this is a little odd.
New employees don’t typically expect to sit down with their leader on day one, be handed a blueprint and then walked through what their leader values, dislikes, and what their quirks are. But I’ve found it to be a refreshingly open and incredibly efficient way of letting your new recruits get to know you on a level that some employees never get to know their leader. And smart, rockstar employees thrive on that openness.
So, what is a blueprint?
Ultimately, don’t we all want to know what our leader values? That’s what the blueprint does—it communicates briefly and clearly to the team what I value.
Here’s an example of a quirk that I want my team to know about me from the blueprint:
Communicating your blueprint with your team
When the time comes, I sit down with everyone on my team, one-on-one, to discuss the blueprint. Talking through the blueprint, face-to-face, gives me the chance to answer questions, add context, and refine the message specifically for that individual.
I find it’s the discussion that the blueprint facilitates that’s most valuable.
In fact, simply emailing the blueprint to your team might actually cause more harm than good, because it’s possible that the intent is misinterpreted. As we all know, tone and body language communicate 80% of the message; the written blueprint just makes it easy to have that discussion.
If you want to share your blueprint with a large audience, like I did with my team at Shopify, you may need to get creative to avoid misinterpretation. In this case, I created videos for each quirk in
Wouldn’t it be great to have a blueprint for all of our leaders (and colleagues, friends, and spouses for that matter)?
If you want a blueprint of your own, simply
copy this doc
to get started.
Think about what you want your team to know about you. If nothing comes to mind, do what I did: Start by asking your team to tell you what they think your quirks are. If they’ve been with you for a while, they’ll know. You can have them add their suggestions on the
. Replace my quirks with whatever you’d like your team to know about you, like things you value and things that drive you nuts.
A few things to remember
While you’re blueprinting, keep in mind these best practices I’ve learned from my own experience:
Release new "versions" of your blueprint (e.g. 1.2, 1.3), because people change and so do their quirks. You should revisit this over time. You’ll be surprised how different you might be 5 years after you write the original one.
Sit down with your colleagues and go over your blueprint 1:1; this gives you a chance to contextualize your quirks with your colleague.
If you’re new to a company, it’s a good idea to run your blueprint by a few people before sharing it too broadly. Some words can be misinterpreted in different environments and cultures. You may need to tweak your messaging to make sure it’s interpreted in the way you intended.
I hope you find this blueprint template as useful as I do. Everyone appreciates openness and honesty, from what I’ve seen to date. I think your team will too.