Use These 6 Rules to Build Better One-on-Ones

You may already know that one-on-one meetings are considered the best business practice of all time, but this article shows how structuring one-on-ones effectively can lead to even greater success. This is the method that worked for Bill Campbell, a Google mentor who advised Steve Jobs (among other legendary executives).

Read on to see how you can apply Campbell’s one-on-one methodology in your company:

1. Make a List of the 5 Highest Priorities

Before the one-on-one, write down the 5 most important topics you need to discuss, and have your employee do the same. If you are both on the same page, there should be overlap; if not, it may be an indication that you need to communicate more often. Although managers and employees will deviate on some topics, the common goal of one-on-ones should be to address team priorities.

2. Stay on Track by Following a Format

Focus on the four significant areas (outlined in the next points below) to cover the most important concerns and pressing issues.

3. Discuss Performance and Clarify Expectations

Ask employees how goal-meeting is progressing. Discuss whether they’re achieving 10% completion on OKRs each week as planned, sales figures, and any other information that reflects the employees’ performance and how they’re measuring up to your expectations.

4. Realign Efforts to Focus on Priorities

How is your employee functioning with the rest of the team? The department? The organization? Individuals’ responsibilities should reflect the top-level priorities of the company, and cross-team collaboration should be running smoothly if everyone is properly aligned. If not, you can reiterate company goals and course correct to return your employee’s focus to the most important priorities.

5. Ask about Growth and Development

Designate a portion of the one-on-one to learning and development. Too often, managers underestimate the importance of this subject, but lack of growth opportunities was recently cited as #1 reason why people leave their jobs. Find out what “growth and development” means to each individual, whether it’s more responsibility, working towards future promotions, or receiving additional training.

6. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Take a portion of the one-on-one to challenge your employees: ask thought-provoking questions and have them share ideas with you. Give them a voice and invite them to find creative solutions to roadblocks and ongoing issues. People actually want to be challenged to use their strengths at work. Challenging your team boosts employee engagement and lets them become more independent, making it a win-win for both you and your people.

How do you structure your one-on-ones? If you’re looking for a starting point, you can use data retrieved from a weekly progress report, like Atiim Pulse which is effectively a weekly status and progress update report that includes the 2-way, closed-loop feedback and this is a technology enabled one-on-one. Just like in a physical one-on-one meeting, Atiim Pulse gathers employee insights on topics ranging from weekly wins to bottlenecks, and it even lets your direct reports (i.e. your employees whom you manage) provide anonymous feedback about their employee satisfaction / engagement.

Do you manage a company or teams (either as a CEO, a senior executive, a middle manager or even a front-line manager)? Do you set and track objectives? Does aligning employee performance to business goals matter, and are you responsible for driving results? If so, please check out a live demo of Atiim OKR & Goals Management Software and we’d love to hear what you think about it. Thank you!



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