CEO of Human Made – How I Work

One of the things we do at Human Made is create how I work docs, I decided to share mine publicly in-case it’s useful to others. If you have feedback then let me know on Twitter. Fork this template gist on Github if you’d like to create your own.

Role Description

I have a CEO role description in the handbook which outlines my accountabilities as CEO.

My responsibilities

My day-to-day responsiblities change over time I maintain a handbook page which lists them.

How I Work

Hi! This is my own interpretation of how I like to work, feedback welcome! Especially if my own view of how I think I like to work doesn’t match your experience of how it seems I like to work!

When I Work

I usually work Monday to Friday and very rarely on the weekends. I usually start around 9:00-9:30 and I usually work until around 16:30-18:30 CET before heading offline to spend the evening with family. I finish earlier some days to collect kids from school. I sometime take calls early in the morning or in the evening as required, but try not to do that more than once or twice per week.

I’m typically unresponsive to work pings between 18:30-21:00, 22:00-7:00. I usually check-in before I go to bed and do a bit of triage, and will respond to anything important then. If it’s an emergency, force a Slack notification through and I’ll get it on my wrist.

Where I Work

I work from my home office; we live in Audierne, Brittany, France.

I have an Executive Assistant

Daisy supports me in her role as an Executive Assistant.

  • You can message Daisy to schedule a catchup or to reschedule an existing call.
  • Daisy may reach out to you directly as part of her management of my calendar.
  • You can @ceo in Slack to loop both Daisy and myself into something, this is usually more effective that mentioning me directly as Daisy can then track it and make sure it gets on my radar.
  • Daisy may jump into GitHub issues and reply on my behalf.

How I work

My daily work is typically a mix of planned and unplanned calls, work towards ongoing projects and goals as well as emergent todos and issues. I typically jump around a lot as pretty much every aspect of the company can involve me or escalate to me in one way or another.

My main focus as CEO is the health and success of Human Made the company and everyone who works here. My main challenge is balancing the focused time I need to be able to work on longer-term goals and changes with the daily reactive work of supporting people to work through issues or challenges as they come up.

I do weekly 1:1 catchups with my direct reports, monthly with leaders, and ad-hoc catchups with people across the company; I also have regular team-level meetings with Partners, Company Leadership, and Operations.

The things I’m working on or need to be involved in are typically spread across lots of different places, which is fine as I also centralise everything on my todo list (both personal and professional) in Workflowy.

Communication

I expect to be excellent at communicating and think it’s critical for me to succeed, if you see instances where my communication could have been better or where something I’ve said could have been clearer, I’d really value that as direct feedback.

You should feel completely free to message me in Slack anytime about anything, either by DM or in a Channel, if I’m not in the Channel then use the Slack feature to notify me of the message.

I have my Slack notifications setup such that I won’t be overwhelmed by people mentioning me. I use the Slack “remind-me” feature to snooze Slack messages people send me to a time I know I’ll be able to go through them and action.

I prefer Slack or Github over email. I maintain inbox 0.

If it feels like I haven’t gotten back to you about something then please message me on Slack as a reminder, you can also mention @ceo which will loop in both Daisy and myself, sometimes I do miss things or get distracted and I always appreciate the followup. I will never get annoyed by you messaging me for an update.

If I ping you, I do not expect a response immediately and you should not feel like you need to drop what you are doing just because I’m the CEO. If something is urgent I will explicitly say so.

If you have a question for me that is not sensitive or private and you’re comfortable doing so, try to post it in a public channel and not in a DM as that way others can also benefit from the exchange.

I prefer text for everyday communication. For talking through problems or complex ideas, I prefer to use voice chat and do most of my 1:1’s over voice whilst out walking.

Cancelling meetings or calls

I will try hard not to cancel meetings, calls, or plans at short notice. If you are impacted by my rescheduling or cancelling something or because I am late then please let me know as it helps me to realise the impact.

On the flip-side, it is completely fine for you to cancel 1:1s or meetings with me, I always have plenty of things I am able to switch to and so you do not need to worry about short notice cancellations inconveniencing me.

Feedback

really value feedback, even if it’s poorly formed or you’re unsure. I want to understand what is going on at Human Made to the best of my ability at all times and really value different points of view. My aim always is to try to understand the truth of every situation.

It’s usually much easier for me to make an internal change to myself than an external one (process or other people) and so critical feedback on something I could be doing differently or better is really, really useful.

I’m happy to receive feedback either publicly in place, or privately in a DM, or on a voice call.

Although I often speak confidently about my opinions or plans, I also change my mind quite often and really value discussing things and trying to see them from others point of view. The more I can understand the whole, the more likely I am to be able to make a good decision.

Things I struggle with

I’m not a great time-keeper and am often a bit late to things, it’s useful for me to hear when this is an issue as a reminder to try not to do that.

I can get overwhelmed by the day-to-day and struggle to progress larger todos or projects. Again I value people reminding me when they’re waiting on something from me.

I’m constantly having to learn where my involvement is needed vs where it’s better for me to let others handle things. This is always changing for me as the nature of the CEO role is such that I’m usually involved at the inception of new things before handing over to others and often only get involved again if something needs to escalate to me. I love being told that I’m not needed for something and am equally happy being pulled in if I am needed.

I sometimes forget that as CEO my words can carry more weight and feel bad when I mention something offhand or share a poorly formed idea or opinion only to realise later that it was received with more weight than I intended. If you are unsure then you can ask me directly whether I am sharing an opinion or a decision.

I spend too much time on my phone and struggle to do enough excercise. I sometimes struggle to be present if there’s a lot on my mind.

Social Media

I have accounts on most social networks. I will not send invites to team members on personal social networks (like Facebook, Instagram, etc) since as the CEO I don’t want to impose myself. But I do love to connect and I will happily accept your friend request if you want to send me one.

I will typically request to connect on LinkedIn and will assume I can follow public Twitter accounts, if you’d prefer that I don’t follow you on Twitter you tell me and I won’t mind, I won’t request to follow you on Twitter if your account is private.

Things I love

I love this company and everyone that works here, I love meeting new people. I love seeing people work together to solve challenging situations, and love to see people thriving and happy.

I get motivated doing the hard work necessery to solve hard problems, I love looking back at how far we’ve come and forward at how far we have to go.

I also love family and friends, being outside, cooking, reading, comedy, and music (especially live at festivals).