Michael on a Page

Below is an overview of my general working style and preferences. A few caveats:

  1. They are by no means absolutes and if we are working together and some of them bug you, please let me know and we can work it out.
  2. I don’t expect a list of bullets to compensate for getting to know each other. I expect we will learn a lot more about each other from working together. This is hopefully can help address the cold start problem.
  3. Take everything in this document with a grain of salt. Manager-Readmes tend to be self-indulgent and this one is not different. Consider these as standards that I like to hold myself accountable to. If I don’t, please let me know.

Meyers Briggs Type

Meyers Briggs is debated to say the least. But judging by the snickering of my wife while reading my assessment, mine seems to be fairly accurate.

  • ISTJs tend to be serious, quiet, thorough, and dependable – they see to it that everything is well organized and accurate. Practical, orderly, matter-of-fact, logical, and realistic. ISTJs take responsibility, notice what needs to be done, and follow through steadily, regardless of protests or distractions.

Working style

  • Always know what your next actions are and if in doubt clarify – once a week let’s sync on what needs to get done
  • No go: missing deadlines, backward or sideward delegation
  • Do what you say and say what you do – expect the same from me
  • Say the hard things – if something bothers you, please say so. I will do my best to address it as best as I can
  • Be open about mistakes – they happen and can be managed, but only if we know about them

Time Management

  • All priorities are relative and subject to discussion, if in doubt, ask for clarification
  • If everything is important, nothing is – be clear on what drives value and focus on it
  • Fan of daily standups to align tasks – focus on process, raising blockers and scheduling time if we need to discuss content
  • Early bird – strong preference for early morning vs. late at night

Information Management

  • I prefer email updates or scheduled meetings – I’m generally open to ad hoc updates, but I might need time to recalibrate and get up to speed
  • Try to provide context of communication and help me with “why it is important that we talk about this”
  • Always have a proposed solution (What would you do?)
  • Don’t hesitate to email me frequently (e.g. research results – don’t manage my info load, if in doubt FW/ CC me FYI), but make clear what you want me to do (or know) and if necessary by when – don’t be afraid to actively manage me for time critical topics
  • Write things down
    • Helps sharpen the thinking, documents insights for the next person and helps reduce meeting load
    • I very much appreciate investments in good writing – writing well takes time, effort and the ability to put your ego aside
    • Bad writing is a meeting factory

Fun/ Lifestyle

  • Work hard, but have fun on the job – no peer pressure on after-work events
  • Celebrate milestones and team successes together
  • Private appointments & trainings are kept if at all possible
    • Speak up to keep appointments
    • Between work and life we have to juggle a lot of balls – most can be dropped and bounce back, but health and family are made of glass. Do not neglect them. I won’t.
    • We don’t miss dance recitals

End products

  • If it sucks, fix it or contribute to fixing it
  • I will give feedback on graphics/ typos even on work-in-progress versions – if it bugs you, please let me know and we’ll figure it out
  • Don’t overcomplicate slides or documents and focus on the answer – don’t make people pay for the extensive research you’ve done
  • Do it right the first time, because nothing provides more leverage
  • Pay attention to thorough data modeling – I ask for attention to clear structure and clean formulas of Excel models because most back-on-the-envelope calculations at some point turn into models
  • “Done is better than perfect”, but also “done is better, then perfect”

Meeting management

  • Agreed-upon results, tasks, responsibilities, clear timeline should be the outcome of a meeting – it often helps to clarify roles in meetings upfront
  • Schedule meeting length realistically and try to stick to it (no default 30-minutes meetings that always take longer)
  • I’m a fan of pragmatic preparation of working meetings – but the meeting still needs a clear objective


  • Frequent and informal – both downward and upward
  • General rule: Praise in public, criticize in private
  • Schedule formal feedback session every ~2-4 weeks
  • I have a lot of blindspots and weaknesses. That’s why I very much appreciate receiving feedback and promise not to argue about it – feedback is a gift