3 Performance Outputs and 4 Guidelines
Note: This is a two-part blog post meeting series. This post strongly advocates and will focus on the power of 1:1’s. The next post will give attention to the architecture for team meetings; both standing and ad hoc.
“A meeting is nothing less than the medium through which managerial work is performed.” -Andy Grove, High Output Management
Workplace meetings have a bad rap. Why shouldn’t they? Busy managers often run meetings on default or fire fighting mode.
Many team members perceive meetings as a “waste of time.” However, high business output can be accomplished by combining the structure of 1:1’s with intention. This creates a powerful communication medium.
The common sentiment – “1:1’s are unnecessary, I work along-side my people all day and they know I have an open door policy” is a common and noble management behavior. However, a crucial dimension is missing: The failure to prioritize the development, engagement and working relationship with each team member.
Here’s an analogy: One can work side by side with their spouse every day raising kids…but if you fail to regularly connect with your spouse, what’s the quality of that relationship?
In work lingo it’s called, “high task, low relationship.” Lots of important stuff gets done but the quality of the relationship quietly, and often dangerously, erodes.
“You don’t build a business. You build people who in turn build the business.” –Zig Ziglar
1:1’s drive three vital performance outputs
- Builds the working partnership with the manager and her direct reports
- Grows the unique capabilities of each team member so they operate at their peak performance, which in turn
- Helps ensure the organization achieves its performance targets
Four guidelines for facilitating 1:1’s in 2018
Guideline 1 – Schedule regularly. Shoot for every two to four weeks. Avoid more frequent meetings because individuals might feel micro-managed. The exception is the chronic under-performer, where a direct style of management is required. Don’t wait more than a month or the coaching relationship will lose momentum and engagement.
Guideline 2 – Mostly stay on individual’s agenda, not yours. This is about optics. The effective manager-coach prioritizes the team member’s growth, concerns, and ideas. Focus on developing the necessary capabilities that will support their success in achieving business metrics, not the other way around.
Guideline 3 – Ask great questions and be highly collaborative. Nothing builds trust faster than asking useful, sincere questions and listening deeply to team member’s career aspirations, motivational drivers, concerns, and ideas for continuous improvement.
Guideline 4 – Have a strong bias for action and accountability. Every 1:1 should be book-ended by commitments and action plans. The high output manager-coach always asks, “Who is doing what, by when, and how will we measure progress and success?”