Whilst we're deeply proud of our online platform which allows team leaders to effortlessly choose which questions they want their people to include in a Manual of Me, invite their colleagues, and support and browse all of the team Manuals from a single location - very often a "directed" approach isn't the most effective way of ensuring Manual of Me is well adopted.
So many people-based initiatives, whilst well designed and thought out, can often land in people's laps without effective communication or context as to why it's being asked of individuals - and with a tool like Manual of Me, which asks quite probing and provocative questions - without good engagement beforehand, it can feel like you're asking a lot of people.
That's why our recommendation to team leaders who are considering using Manual of Me within their teams is almost always to take a "co-design" approach.
Rather than working in isolation to set intentions, questions and designing and communicating how manuals will be created and used - involving your people in the design process right from the start creates a greater sense of buy-in and ownership.
For example, rather than a team-leader choosing the questions which go into a Manual, and then inviting everyone to complete their answers - hold a question selection session, where the team gets to decide collectively which questions would be most useful to ask of each other, and which questions individuals might want to include.
Another example of a co-design approach would be to discuss as a group where the Manual of Me could be valuable, and find the moments in the current ways of working where it could help, and collectively agreeing where it might be piloted first, or how it could fit in to their habits and rituals.
Collaborative efforts to design manuals together work exceedingly well - whilst time to reflect individually on questions and answers is essential, the process of discussing for example which questions we might want to include surfaces valuable insights for team leaders in to issues or challenges the team might be facing, in a non-combative context.
By getting everyone involved in the creation process, you're also ensuring a more inclusive approach to sharing - rather than an individual who might have additional requirements or specific preferences, everyone is involved in designing how needs might be uncovered, shared and listened to - normalising that everyone can share their needs and preferences, not just those who have to.
This co-creation process also allows team-leaders to share some of the responsibility and effort of implementing and championing Manual of Me - so it's no longer a thing a manager is asking of the team, but rather an activity and ritual which the entire team is doing, for themselves and for each other - which over time reduces the burden on the manager, sharing the responsibility across multiple people.
In summary - don't feel you need to have everything figured out before you bring people into the Manual of Me. Whilst it's important to be clear on the purpose and intention behind the initiative, involve your people in designing, building, exploring, sharing and keeping your manuals alive over time, to drive greater adoption and effectiveness. We've seen it work time and time again across the many organisations we've worked with - and I know it'll help your people work better together too.
If you're interested in learning more about how Manual of Me can be implemented within your organisation, drop us a note, and we can help you design the right approach for your team.
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