Founder’s Toolbox: PUG Edition

June 24, 2020

As mentioned in our previous blog post, utilizing frameworks and establishing routines are especially important for early-stage companies. While culture emerges and norms around communication and accountability are developing, it is crucial to understand how and why both you and your teammates operate the way they do.

After our crucial conversations session, we were inspired by one of our founders, Jake Perlman-Garr, to develop a tool that enables team members to provide a snapshot of themselves for their colleagues to understand them better. While many great leaders verbally share with their team members how they work and what their guard rails look like, few share written versions.

So without further ado, as part of our Oceans OS series, we are first introducing the Personal User Guide (PUG).

The Personal User Guide

The PUG helps those around you understand how you operate – the things that motivate you and the things that drive you crazy. By reflecting on and documenting what makes you tick (or what sets you off), you let the people around you get to know you better. Learning what you need to thrive, as well as areas of development that you are working on, enables critical conversations that promote a healthy culture and build trust.

In addition to helping those around you know you better, you also become more self-aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. The process of creating and updating a PUG pushes people to have a honest chat with themselves on how best to set themselves up for success. This is quite similar to the value of a self review during a performance review process – it isn’t just the feedback you get from those around you, but also from yourself. The more you understand yourself, the more you’ll be a successful leader, employee, manager and colleague.

The goal is to use just a few bullet points to capture this information, but ultimately avoids those awkward moments like the “Open door Policy Dilemma”… You did say that your door is always open, BUT you didn’t clarify that:

  • You work most effectively when you have uninterrupted blocks of time to get work done
  • You prefer that someone messages you first when you seem deep in thought
  • You have a really hard time saying no to requests for help

Well, now they know, and everyone’s the better for it. Ideally, all of your team members create a PUG when they join your team. This both facilitates how you all engage with one another most productively from the start of the relationship and also helps onboard new team members quickly as they benefit from the ‘411’ right away and the guesswork of communicating is removed. PUGs should be revisited and updated periodically, ideally on the same cycle as your performance reviews.

We’re excited to share this resource and even more eager to hear your feedback. Give the PUG a try, and please let us know what you think.

We also have editable versions and this and other resources available — just reach out to us here.