Meetings · Productivity

Best way to run 1:1 meetings?

Megan May UI Designer at Chicyy

November 21st, 2015

I currently have a 7 person team and believe 1:1's are essential meetings to set the tone for each individual and their tasks. How often would others advise 1:1's should happen? Once a week? Once every 2 weeks? What has worked for others?

Guita Gopalan Head of Customer Success at Stacck

November 21st, 2015

Once a week sounds about right, keep it short and sweet. 30 mins should be enough on a regular day (sometimes if there are any issues raised that be extended).

I use 1:1's as check-ins. Coaching methodologies make 1:1s effective

1. Celebrate Accomplishments. What did they do last week that they are proud of? Recognize and celebrate their accomplishments no matter how big or small. 

2. Appreciate Contributions. I identify what great thing happened last week that they contributed to. Sometimes, it's as simple as "I know you weren't feeling well last week but I really appreciate you going above and beyond."

3. Set Goals. What do they want to accomplish for the week? I ask them to prioritize the list. If I have something I need them to do and they didn't identify it or its low priority for them I ask: why isn't _______ on the list? Why is ______ #__ in priority? This usually leads into the next conversation. 

If there is something more important to be accomplished, rather than saying, no you're focusing on the wrong things. Help them manage the other tasks.

4. Identify Resources and Roadblocks. What is needed to get things done? Are there any challenges to get other things done? 

I find the 7 D approach to be most useful
- Do It - it takes a small amount of time, just get it done
- Delegate - someone else can do that
- Dump it - it doesn't need to be done, it's not importnant
- Divide it - break it down into smaller pieces
- Due Date It - it doesn't need to be done now, make a timeline (beyond the 1 week). (I also call this - Delay it)
- Discuss it - We're not on the action stage. We need to think things through.
- Deal With It - unfortunately, it really needs to be done. 

As time goes by, the team will begin to understand how you work and incorporate that into their own. 

Vijay MD Founder Chefalytics, Co-owner Bite Catering Couture, Independent consultant (ex-McKinsey)

November 21st, 2015

Great chapter on this in Andy Grove's High Output Management. 

He would say 1:1s are more their meeting with you than yours with them (and this keeps you from having to prepare for 8 meetings). If they have clear objectives, then let them set the agenda.

I have a separate meeting for reviewing progress with teams...we do this using pivotaltracker against our user stories (agile methodology)

Erik Mikisch Marketing; Translating product and marketing strategies into profitable revenues

November 21st, 2015

I would recommend that you schedule one on one's every week.  For vacation, business trip, trade shows, company events, etc. they will not happen every week anyway.  And if there is nothing to discuss that week, everyone gets 30 minutes back.  Net/net, each team member enjoys your attention as well as access to you.  At the beginning of the quarter you extend the mtg to 60 min to discuss last quarters progress and this quarters MBO's as well as progress against this year's MBO's and the team member's career objectives.  Hope that makes sense.

Minor Arias Certified Leadership Coach, Trainer & Speaker at The John Maxwell Team. www.lideresdeterminados.com

November 22nd, 2015

As you can see from all the post, weekly meetings are highly recommended; just a word of advice here...if you schedule the meetings, they have to happen no matter what (unless there is a great reason not to...like a trip or last minute urgent meeting); nonetheless, the meeting has to be rescheduled within the week or ASAP. Thing here is that even though they are recurrent meetings, if you start to skip them, then your team will start missing the value of them and even worst, they may start thinking you don't care about them (this is the worst thing can happen)

Other than that, I'd stick to Guita Gopalan comment above. Coaching techniques are fundamental not only for effective meetings to happen but also to further develop your team's potential.

Don't make it about you and your targets...1:1 meetings should be about them, although you may also schedule team meetings every two or four weeks to have them all sharing about their progress and your "PAS" (Performance Against Schedule). Hope this helps! 

Peter Johnston Businesses are composed of pixels, bytes & atoms. All 3 change constantly. I make that change +ve.

November 22nd, 2015

Stop thinking like a manger. Start thinking like a team.

You've asked a "how long is a piece of string" question. If you are doing a sprint with someone, you need to be in touch almost constantly. Certainly not once a week.

The answer is to set goals, milestones and schedules together. Make yourself approachable and valuable, so they seek out your advice and collaboration too. You have only 8 of you so you should be working together and know what is going on by osmosis - listening to conversations, not through meetings.


Sung Han Respected bilingual technology executive with highly honed business acumen

November 21st, 2015

With a small team, I think a high touch approach would make the team much more intimate...I would recommend once a week wit a group meeting at the beginning or the end of the week to deliver closure for that week

Paul Murskov

November 21st, 2015

Hi Megan, Before diving into the answer - would you mind breaking out your team by role? That would help identify how you should approach each team type or team member. Thanks, Paul

Zhenya Rozinskiy Partner at Mirigos

November 22nd, 2015

I strongly believe that these meetings should be weekly. They are about 30 minutes long.

What's important is to let you employees know  that it's "their" time. They need to know that they are responsible for agenda, any topics etc. If they want to talk about last baseball game, so be it. It's the time when they have uninterrupted time with you - their leader. It's also time for you to provide them with informal feedback. Talk about what the did well last week. Talk to them about their soft skills and talk to them about what they can improve.

You as  manager have opportunity to get to you employees any time. You can walk over and talk to them or call them in to discuss anything. On the other hand they don't have the same privilege. You are much busier, spend a lot of time doing other things. This is the opportunity for them to get your attention.

Ian Homer Coach To Executives and Business Owners

November 22nd, 2015

Don't underestimate the power of group meetings. Yes 1:1s are important, they give insight as to how someone is feeling and that person can share with you more personal insights. So they are definitely important...However too many of them can create a big time overhead for you and everyone will begin to wonder what happens in everyone else's 1:1! With a small team, group sessions are great for building trust and peer accountability (very powerful). Decisions can be made faster and they can align everyone on priorities.
So yes to 1:1s, but not so much as the team needs to gossip between themselves to find out what's going on.
Ian

Andrea Mulligan

November 23rd, 2015

I set goals with each team member on a quarterly basis. Then, I run weekly focus sessions (1::1) with each member of the team to review progress against their goals, discuss any challenges they have, and provide constructive feedback. I expect the team member to drive the agenda, but I give them a structure that I have seen work as a starting point. (They don't have to follow the structure, but I find without a recommended structure, most people come in unprepared.)

In some situations, bi-weekly focus sessions work better than weekly - typically, larger team with senior resources who travel a lot.