Monday, January 20, 2014

One to One Meetings

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Here is my all-time favorite "best practice" for managers. It is Hall of Fame worthy and just like many of the all-time great ideas in the world (like FedEx or Tivo), this one is incredibly simple.

One to One meetings. A weekly habit that can make you a better manager immediately. And get you better results almost as fast. It means that (almost) every week you have a scheduled meeting with your key managers and direct reports, one to one. Just the two of you with no email, no phones and no distractions. Almost every week. Three out of every four weeks. Just two people…one to one. This is the one meeting you do not reschedule or change. You keep this appointment.

Maybe you’re thinking this is a good idea but you don’t need it because you already have dozens of meetings every day, short and long, with your key managers. In fact, the LAST thing you need is another meeting.

And you’re right…the last thing you need is one MORE meeting like all the others. I promise you, this is one is quite different. THIS is the meeting we all need. And the one we all secretly crave.

Your employees truly want a few minutes every week where the boss focuses only on them. They want some time to brag (just a little) about a swell accomplishment. Or even better, just to spend time with the boss so they can safely admit a weakness. And get feedback. They want time so the boss will ask what they're focusing on, what they're worried about and whether they are satisfied, happy, frustrated, swamped, bored or even worthy of all this.

They crave 15-30 minutes a week to ask difficult questions, ask about the future or just ask the boss for his view of the Red Sox’s chances this year. (OK, now you know where I live).

If you meet regularly with your key managers and direct reports I guarantee – yes, I promise that your communication with each person will be transformed. You will learn bad news faster, get greater commitment and your team will work harder than ever to deliver for you.