Unlock the magical differences in your team with a ‘User Guide of You’

Create a ‘User Guide’ and share it out loud with your team

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert Einstein

I have always enjoyed being in teams that understand the differences between each other. When we celebrate the strange ways each of us act and think, instead of neutralising ourselves to some kind of machine, we unlock the magic of a diverse team.

Introducing the User Guide of You

At Main Sequence Ventures, we use this tool to quickly and simply unlock the best of our team. Here’s how to use it.

Ask your team to complete the template below and then get together to share how each of you work.


  • Grab your own copy here.
  • When you complete the form, be as brutally honest as you can muster. Look at yourself through eyes of others. The purpose of this is for your team mates to unlock the best in you.
  • My superpowers: what do you think you are very good at? Try to think beyond what you would say on a resume. What can you teach others? What do you understand intuitively and find yourself honing constantly in your work.
  • My weaknesses: be honest. What are you hopeless at? What are those tasks that people give you and you just know you are going to do a terrible job? What are those moments in team meetings where you have pretended to cover up a weakness where others are strong?
  • Honest, unfiltered things about me: it doesn’t have to be about work. Do some things pre-occupy you? Your health? Getting ahead of the mortgage? Are you super competitive? Do you get bored out of your mind in most meetings?
  • Things you might not understand about me: is it possible you are sometimes defensive, but take the feedback when you have had time to think? Do you sometimes realise you don’t smile much, even when you are happy inside? Look at yourself through the eyes of others.
  • What drives me nuts: what makes you livid? Certain words or behaviours that make you cross inside? What triggers make you pin up a negative loop in your mind that really doesn’t help anyone, especially you. What can others try not to do when working with you?
  • Qualities I admire: what inspires you in other people? What do you aspire to? You may possess or not possess these qualities yourself.
  • My quirks: do you have a particular habit? Do you need to write things down before you can structure an idea well? Do you like to make things? Do you have a photographic memory?
  • Getting a gold star from me (helping each other): when collaborating, what causes you to add that secret credit to to the ledger of life? What do others do that consistently makes your life easier? What do you wish people would do more?

Now schedule some time for your team to share with each other. This is best done in small groups. For each person:

  • Hand out your User Guide to the team
  • Spend 5 minutes walking people through it — be courageous in what you share.
  • Brief team reflection on any surprises. What are the new understandings about how to work with you. Be supportive and remember this process is to help us all do our best work together.

If you use it, I’d love to hear how it went in the comments.



Useful thoughts from the front line of big science and venture.

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Phil Morle

Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.