Working with Anton

May 25, 2023 in Consulting

I recall reading a post by Lily Konings where she described what it's like to work with her. Instead of the usual portfolio-style posts, she provided valuable insight into her work style, which emphasizes transparency and collaboration on individual terms. This was a veritable goldmine! Thank you, Lily, for sharing.

One year ago, when I started working with Summer Health, I took the Myers Briggs test and was surprised by how accurately my personality type resonated with me.

Personality

  • INFJ-T in Myers Briggs. I was surprised by how accurately this personality type resonated with me. Anyone who knows me well understands that the "I" in INFJ is crucial for me to feel well. I need a decent amount of time by myself to recharge.
  • Strengths. One of my strengths lies in my ability to hit the ground running and quickly get up to speed on new projects. Once I'm running, I thrive on exploring how to systemize things, design in particular, and create processes that will help streamline workflows and increase efficiency.
  • Weaknesses. I am trying to improve my communication skills by being clearer and more straightforward, especially in situations that could lead to conflict. As a Swede, this can be challenging.

Values & Culture

  • Psychological safety. I firmly believe that if team members don't feel safe and supported, they won't be able to produce good work. Therefore, my main priority is the well-being of my team members, whether I'm leading the team or not. Sara Soueidan put it nicely when she said, “Anton strikes a great balance between being a great designer, director, and friend. He cares about the health and success of his teammates just as much as he cares about the health and success of the project.”
  • Have fun. I take my work seriously and always deliver on time, but in the last ~5 years, I've realized that there's no point in taking work too seriously. It's important and can have an impact on people's lives, but we also need to remember to not take ourselves too seriously at times.
  • Respectful. I strive to attend every meeting on time, prepared, and alert. With remote meetings, it can be tempting to get distracted by Slack messages, emails, or other things vying for your attention. However, I make a conscious effort to respect everyone's time, recognizing that it's just as valuable as mine.
  • This could have been an email (or a loom!). I dislike meetings that are held just for the sake of holding them. I support Shopify's recent effort to cancel every recurring meeting, as reported by NPR. Meetings tend to happen whether they are necessary or not. I prefer doing ad-hoc syncs and using Loom.

Collaboration

  • Gold Stars. I appreciate individuals who communicate clearly and honestly. While priorities may shift and we may not always agree, effective communication with respect is crucial to me.
  • Responsiveness. Despite being in a different timezone than most of my clients, I try to be as responsive as possible. I will reply to direct messages before I call it a day, usually around 10 pm CET. This way, my west coast collaborators can reach me until at least noon their time.
  • Quirks. I like to think that the work I do matters. Therefore, doing work that seems like it is just for the sake of doing work is a big morale-killer for me. This idea is well-formulated in the description of INFJ-T personalities: “Other morale killers for these personalities may include strict rules, formal structures, and routine tasks. They may find it especially dispiriting when they’re asked to redo their work, particularly if it’s for a reason that just doesn’t seem valid to them.”
  • Trust Gains. To earn trust, communicate well, take ownership of your work, and deliver on time. These are the traits of people I enjoy working with repeatedly.
  • Trust Gaps: If you disagree with your collaborators, let's talk about it instead of going dark and coming back with a big reveal. Ignoring approved wireframes, for example, is a sure-fire way to make me question our relationship as visual designers and collaborators. Let's respect each other's work and communicate openly.

Communication

  • Medium. I'm a big fan of Slack, and it's the quickest and easiest way to get my attention. I'll reply to emails within a couple of days, but I'll respond on Slack within hours.

Feedback & Recognition

  • Giving Recognition. Emojis are my love language. I will drown you (and everyone in the channel) with emojis 🔥💫✨🌟😍♥️
  • Giving Feedback: I tend to sit on conflicts too long, rather than addressing them before they become bigger issues. I am working on improving my communication skills, not only pointing out what is broken, but also suggesting ways to improve it.
  • Receiving Recognition. I am not too humble to admit I love it when people enjoy my work (or working with me). If you think I am doing something well, please let me know! As a consultant who moves from project to project, it can be especially difficult to determine if I am meeting the desired outcomes.
  • Receiving Feedback. I prefer to receive feedback through written chat so that I can digest it thoroughly. This should be followed up with a video call to discuss the feedback in more detail, align our understanding, and determine next steps.

Hopefully, this will help any present and future collaborators enjoy working with me even more. I look forward to learning more about you!

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