One-on-one’s are weekly 30-minute meetings between a manager and each person that reports to him or her.
The guys at Manager Tools say that they are the most effective management tool that they know of. They have a series of three podcats on one-on-one’s along with a worksheet that provides some additional details.
I found the podcasts so helpful that I took some notes over them. Here are my notes.
The purpose of 1:1’s is communication. A culture of communication, in turn, is a key ingredient of organization-wide alignment and coordination across departments. Communication is the most important lever an organization has for performance.
- Regularly scheduled.
- Rarely missed. This means “always reschedule,” instead of canceling. [I would say that sometimes, it just won’t be possible to reschedule and a week will have to be missed.]
- Primary focus is on the team member.
- Take notes. Keep in a notebook or electronically, and in each meeting refer back to follow-up items.
Here is the standing agenda that seems to work best:
- 10 minutes: Them. Agenda items they bring and whatever they want to talk about.
- 10 minutes: You. Agenda items you’ve brought; updates that will be useful to them to know. Touch base on status of projects and quarterly goals if desired.
- 10 minutes: The future/development. (If there is time left for this.)
To prepare, they suggest that it can be helpful to review 5 questions. [What I basically do is review notes from the last meeting and pull together agenda items I’ve collected along other items that come to mind (updates that will be useful, etc.).]
Anyway, here are the five questions they suggest:
- What things in my notes from last meeting do I need to follow up on? Then write them on your agenda.
- What do I need to be sure to communicate to this person?
- What positive feedback can I give this person?
- What adjusting feedback am I going to give this peson?
- Is there something I can delegate? (“There is a gross under-delegation epidemic in America.”)