Power One-on-ones: Daily, Weekly and Quarterly Check-ins

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Daily One-on-Ones.

You’re already doing them. Do them consciously.

How many two-minute conversations do you have every day with the people on your team?

Chances are you spend quite a bit of time “chatting” with coworkers. At your desk or an FAC. My guess? You have a lot of the stuff in common.

Why not drop in “status reports” – questions and comments about tasks and challenges? You’ll be surprised how often you get people thinking about the next phase of a project, product or service requirement.

Think of them as “micro-one-on-ones”. Use idle conversation to your benefit. It serves a number of great purposes.

  1. Align your team so that you can help make minor course corrections if warranted.
  2. Integrate a social atmosphere with work. Make work just a little more enjoyable.
  3. Provide for an early warning system of negative behaviors or perceptions that you can address in a more formal setting.

If someone has begun to develop that “turnover mindset” – that is, if they’re checking out mentally, it’s only a matter of time before their feet head for the door.
Find out as soon as you can so you can prepare for the best.

Weekly Check-ins.

Team meetings are dead.

The team meeting as it once looked is dead. Or should be.
Waiting for the conference room to open up. Starting five minutes late and running ten minutes over. The same basic agenda every week. Round-table task reporting that’s more or less unhelpful. And so, so boring.

Shift your mindset. A team meeting is not a one-to-one. It’s a one-to-many.

If you check in daily, you already know what challenges persist with respect to tasks. A weekly conversation gives you the chance to lead. Want to get the most out of your time? Here’s how.

  1. Engage an engaging topic, one that is a concern to all.
  2. Conference rooms are so ’90s. Huddle in the hallway.
  3. Don’t “run” the meeting. It’s a conversation. It’s give and take – so be sure to give your thoughts and listen for their advice.
  4. Recognize successes and challenges. Ask for help.
  5. Above all else, make it short.

You’re daily one-on-ones are your perfect opportunity to follow-up on team-meeting issues. So, there’s really no need for long detailed accounts. Brevity in meetings recaptures untold productivity. Avail yourself!

Quarterly Conversations.

Performance reviews but with a little more humanity.

You should absolutely, positively meet with every employee for a structured one-on-one – at least once a quarter. But, why not break bread. Make it over coffee, bagels, lunch or beer.

While this conversation is a more formal meeting where feedback is structured and cataloged, it’s not a performance review. It’s future-focused.
It’s a chance for communication on coming challenges, successes and levers of performance – both yours and theirs.

Review your goals progress mutually and set new ones. Recount the conversations of the past month. Keep notes. Everybody leaves with takeaways and to-dos.

You can’t legislate quality feedback. It has to be grown over time. So make the time. Want to be successful? Consider the following.

  1. Never, ever cancel your one-on-one. If you do, your employee will know exactly where he or she stands in the priority order.
  2. Share successes. Be sure to celebrate everybody’s wins.
  3. Recognize team-level challenges as a context for task-specific speed bumps.
  4. Express what makes your jobs hard – and what could be done to make them easier.
  5. Detail specific goals. Pose questions about the future to get the innovative conversation rolling.
  6. Take your time. It takes a while for social comfort to set-in. Give it time to reap the full benefits of free-flowing feedback

Remember this:
Employees are the first link in a relationship chain between you, your product quality, your client service, financial success and your ability to attract new talent.

Improving relationships with team members takes practice. Feedback through one-on-ones is the most simple and most effective building block for a better workforce.
Don’t delay. The day’s not over yet.

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