With added folds, the User Manual gets sharper and sharper

One of the many unexpected gifts from exploring the ins and outs of a relationship User Manual is the fascinating inflow of ideas that make the raw blade of the User Manual sharper and more penetrating.

In one of my favorite analogies of all time, I feel a bit like Hattori Hanzo from Kill Bill–a master swordsmith called out of retirement to slowly fold accumulated brilliance into a world-class katan that will decimate all obstacles. Except in the name of love, and without all the wanton death.

Back to the point: everybody has a reaction to the User Manual, and many point me toward battle-tested related concepts they’ve come across in the daily onslaught of information.

One repeated reference point I’ve heard is the value of the User Manual for work. Just a few weeks ago, a CEO I may be working with said that upon partnering with any company, he sends over a one-pager on How to Work With Me that helps people get optimum results–and not read too much into his actions.

It’s a brilliant point and one I see as a natural follow-up to the User Manual for relationships.

We all know different work styles: some want to talk through ideas, others want to ruminate back in the lair. Some gun out email, some live on texting, some Slack, some go in-person or bust, some use the weird voice part of the phone (guilty!). Some people thrive in a loud open forum; others seek pristine silent solitude. Some managers are hands-on, some are lassez-faire; some set fake deadlines to cover for slippage, others trust the team to get ‘er done at all costs.

And we all have quirks and emotional triggers that it behooves our colleagues to know about. Mine include a hatred for poor document labeling and insistence on storing everything on the cloud. Call me crazy, just do it!

The beauty of the User Manual — in work AND relationships — is that the goal is clear. Everybody is (usually) committed to a spectacular work experience, just as everyone in a relationship seeks a fantastic partnership.

The User Manual is simply about how you get there.

Now, there are clearly differences in work v. romantic relationships. There’s the transactional nature of exchanging money for services and the easily measurable metrics of career growth or salary v. the intangible support and joy of thriving relationships. These days, most jobs exist on a far shorter time horizon than a committed relationship or marriage, which affects our investment appetite.

And we don’t need to love the people we work with, we just need to work together — though it helps if we like them at least a smidge.

This idea clearly needs sharpening and reshaping in a Hattori Hanzo swordsmith kiln. But a User Manual for work is a fascinating application–look for more on this soon.