Questions and Answers on One-on-Ones

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I get to know my team?
  • How do I get my team to do their jobs?
  • What should I discuss in a One on One?

In this show we continue our conversation on One-on-Ones. In addition to a brief review (very brief -- not a substitute for listening to the previous two shows!), we review a number of questions and finer points.

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Dear Mike and Mark, Thank you for

Dear Mike and Mark,

Thank you for your pocasts. Your topics are very relevant and tools are great. I have sent out my e-mail invitations and will begin my 1-on-1s next week. I have operational and profitability goals set for the next 12 months and I'll let you know about my progress.

I have 2 restaurants and have tried (and failed) with a systemic way to meet with my managers. You have renewed my hope! My questions: What other meetings should the effective manager have? You mentioned team meetings, but do you recommend others? Do you have sample agendas for them as well? Any information you could share would be great. Thank you so much again.

Paul Bailey

Paul- Thanks for your positive

Thanks for your positive comments. Glad you like the 'casts and that the tools are helping. We look forward to hearing about your progress.

And, GREAT question about what other meetings you should have. There are
several factors that affect this, and it'd be best if you'd send mail telling us how big your org(s) is/(are), rough structure, etc. That will help us tailor our recommendations for you.

But in general, we find that most great managers do have a set or series of meetings that are somewhat standard. First, if you have an assistant/admin, you should meet with him/her first thing every morning for 10-15 minutes tops. Review your calendar, consider issues that might make things go differently, give him new tasks for the day and review what he is working on. After a while, you can do this in 5 minutes most of the time. Have him print your schedule out the night before, leave it on his desk, and that way you're into it right away in the morning.

We also recommend weekly staff meetings. One-on-Ones do NOT eliminate the need for the team to gather. This is about the TEAM. This is your forum. It's never longer than an hour. We have lots of sample agendas, but it really depends on your org. Let us know more. By the way - NEVER on Monday. As Peter Drucker says, meetings slow people down, and if you start the week with one, you're asking people who come in ready to go to slow down.

There's a lot more to weekly staff meetings (you don't run them all, standard agenda, less PowerPoint, opportunity to stretch people with no one else around, etc.) It all depends on your org.

I also recommend a quarterly performance review with each of your directs. It's an hour long, and it takes the place of one of their one-on-ones. The entire agenda is to give them a quarterly version of their annual review, with rankings and everything. The first couple will be hard. You'll wonder, 'why bother making people this stressed four times a year versus one?' And, you will have HAD to already be giving feedback regularly. But, ahhh, at the end of the year, you're the smartest guy in the building.

I know turnover's often high in the restaurant business, but I do still recommend all of these. For those that make it through a quarter/year, more time with the boss is a bonus that's worth it. If you're taking them away from tip money, figure out what their tips would've been in that time, and slip them whatever will make it worth their time. It'll pay big dividends.

One other meeting I love, and I think is surprisingly underrated, and that's the monthly birthday celebration. Once a month, you pop for cake or a big cookie or some other goodie, get everyone together for 5 minutes, and sing Happy Birthday to the 1-5-20 associates you have who have birthdays that month. Say something nice about each (okay, maybe not with 20). Allow your team to mingle without an agenda, and DON'T talk about work. Sounds corny... but my favorite pictures of my kids (now college-aged) are the ones with goofy faces. Your people's best performance is reserved for people who care about them, and people like to have their birthdays acknowledged.

Hope this helps!


Re: item #3 "My folks don't like me

Re: item #3 "My folks don't like me taking notes..." - I started these meetings by telling the person I was talking with that I wanted to make sure I remembered what we'd talked about and what actions each of us had from the meeting. I also told them (actually reminded them, since I've told them this before)that to remember correctly, I didn't trust my memory, but relied on notes. They understood two things from this: 1) I was really going to pay attention to what we discussed, and would follow through on decisions; and 2) there was nothing sinister about what I was doing. I "owned" the need for this memory aid. I never had anyone object to those reasons.

SteveG- Thanks for your comments -


Thanks for your comments - you're spot on. Letting your team know why you're taking notes really helps with their anxieties about "documentation". Keep us posted on how things are going with further comments or questions. - Mark

Mike and Mark, First off, great job

Mike and Mark,

First off, great job and thank you! I've enjoyed your episodes and found every one to be filled with great insight and immediately applicable "do's".

I had been doing weekly one-on-ones with my directs since my move to my current position, and after listening to your podcast decided to put your structured formula in place. It just made the practice even better, I shared with them the reason and source for the change - citing your podcast - and they bought in as readily as I did.

In this July10th podcast, during the part about phone O3’s when necessary. There’s mention of a direct report saying "I don't have my one-on-one notes". How strongly do you require/enforce that your reports to take notes on their end? Mine do to take down their action items, but nothing specifically as notes on each meeting.

And two questions on dotted-line reports - My position puts me one foot in business operations and the other leading IT / software development projects. On the project side, the developers that I work with are part of our umbrella company’s in-house team. We work consistently with the same people and meet regularly as a group on project status. They report to me on the project scope but do have their own management. As a matter of working closely together we’ve grown to occasionally doing something social after work – drinks/coffee. Any thoughts on whether or not O3's are even something to think about in these situations?

Similar question on my operational responsibilities, we have team members that are direct reports to my boss, but their day-to-day tasks, progress, and updates are addressed to me. Is there a specific 'DO' when handling these dotted-line reporting relationships?

Sorry for the long post. Looking forward to your feedback, and hope other find it useful as well.


Good Morning, Mark and Mike. I'm

Good Morning, Mark and Mike.

I'm entering my 4th week of 1-on-1's and I have done the following for my next meetings: I sent an e-mail outlining what I plan to discuss during my 10 minutes. The topics I want my managers to be able to ta;l about are sales, service times, mystery shop scores, and staffing levels (I own and operate 2 restaurants).

Is this a good idea, or have I just changed the nature of 1-on-1s from a half hour FOR my folks to a meeting ABOUT ME and my company's goals? Do I need to have a sperate meeting to talk about these matters?

Thanks, guys. Your shows are great and your comments are always helpful.


Hi Guys, Very much enjoying the

Hi Guys,

Very much enjoying the PodCasts.

We're currently going through a lot of restructuring at our company, and your topics and hints & tips have come at a very apt time.

I'm taking the plunge and introducing 1-to-1's with our team, and very much like your PDF file. Is it possible to obtain this file in another format (Word doc) just so I can use it as a basis but modify it to make it applicable to our company.

Keep up the good work!


Thanks, Richard ... we appreciate the

Thanks, Richard ... we appreciate the feedback.

I uploaded a Word version of the 1-on-1 template (thanks, Mark!). You'll find it on the appropriate "Tools" page.

Tony- Please accept my apologies for


Please accept my apologies for not responding to your post more quickly. (I've also replied online, by the way). I completely dropped the ball on getting back to you in a timely way - my fault.

Glad you were already doing one on ones. The practice is rare, but even without a lot of structure, those that do it stick with it. Also glad our structure makes it more efficient, and with only 30 minutes, efficiency CAN mean effectiveness.

I DON'T in any way require my folks to take notes at all during the one on ones. I do think any really vibrant,regular meeting is going to create enough discussion/work that folks could not get through it without a systemic way of capturing info. So, if you're asking, do I require it, the answer is not at all. If a team member asked me if they had to take notes, I'd say, "no, not at all, but we are going to talk about work and projects and status and stuff, so I can't imagine you wouldn't want to be ready to take notes." Some of this gets into subtleties, but if I had a brand new member in front of me, without a lot of experience, I would say, "I'd recommend you bring something to take notes on, and quite frankly would expect you to always have that with you at any meeting you go to in the team or elsewhere, representing us or not." If someone can remember everything, I really don't care if they take notes. Sure seems like no one can remember everything, though. If after a few weeks, if they just bring scraps of paper to our O3s, but they nail every deliverable, I'd give positive feedback about their performance and not mention notes. If they ever used an excuse ( I forgot), I'd give them some feedback about the impact of the lack of their note taking. (There's a long answer for you).

I would ABSOLUTELY do O3s with those developers! yes, they don't report to you... but it doesn't matter. Performance is performance, and more communication always improves it. I've recommended it before, and folk who do this swear by it (both sides of the table). Now, has there ever been negative feedback from heir reporting manager? Yeah. About 20% of the time, one of their actual bosses will say something. If that happens, you've got a responsibility to go visit with them, and tell them what you're doing and why. Take the form, show them a couple of recent forms with notes, tell them what their directs say about them. (If it's still new, the directs may be a little iffy yet, and ask for a month to try it out. What I've suggested is, "Look, over a month it's 2 hours. We have project meetings that accomplish NOTHING that last that long. If it's still a hassle for 1 or 2, and you still have heartburn, we can talk again."

Dotted line relationships truly do benefit enormously from O3s. Even with them reporting to your boss. Don't make those O3s about boss to team member, but rather, project reviews. The purpose is STILL to focus on the team member, and they still go first...everything stays the same, except you may choose to let them talk to their boss about career stuff/future stuff. (If they asked my advice, I'd be open about it, but if they're your peers, I'd suspect they won't. If you couch it as project related, it works fine. Now, if projects are assigned sporadically, and sometimes they DON'T have anything that requires your attention, you could choose to halt them temporarily. Some managers continue them... personal choice. My take on meetings like this is that dang near every project I've ever been involved in that ends up with problems is reported as "green" for far longer than it should be, and when it does go bad, it requires GROSSLY inefficient application of resources, causing org pain. O3s in these cases are a WELLNESS program, versus expensive surgery at the end. Be willing to dig past answers like, "yeah, it's fine." Note the questions on the forms we've posted. "Are you on track to meet the deadline?" You can ask, "have you done a/b/c/d?" This is NOT micromanagement - it's good stewardship. Micromanagement is telling them exactly how to do it and when and watching them do it.

Hope this helps. Don't hesitate to refine your questions if I've misunderstood. Glad we're helping you become more effective!

And again, my apologies for the delayed reply.


Paul- I am so sorry this reply took


I am so sorry this reply took me so long! I think Mike and I talked about replying to your post, and I confused that with ACTUALLY replying. Totally my fault.

Your question reveals a lot of insight - well put.

I'm not going to tell you not to do what you're doing. it's a gray area, and it may work fine for you... but you're right to have a little concern.

Here's a thought: it depends upon you, and the rest of your meeting. If you're a no-nonsense kind of guy, fairly business like, thought of as the boss mostly, and not really a warm person (hey, no offense, but it makes a difference), what you're suggesting is one of those small things that begins to make your O3s YOURS, per your concern. I might feel like O3s were just a ruse to create a weekly reporting meeting. That's not to say that there's not going to be reporting going on. But it's the difference between a meeting about your team member, a conduit to strengthen your relationship with regular face to face talks, with a lot of the discussion being about work, and a meeting about work where you ask some questions about how they're doing. That's a subtlety that - I think - depends upon your style.

My style is very, very loose. My staff think I am the nicest boss in the world (and I give tons of feedback - go figure). I AM adamant about O3s, but if we end up taking 15 minutes talking about Tiger Woods because my staffer likes golf, that's fine with me. (Not to say I won't, after three weeks, probe a little bit about work stuff). If I wanted the data you mentioned, what I would do - again, this is me - I would ask for that data separately, and then ask questions about it during the meeting after I've looked at it a little. Here's why: it's my experience that someone who has to bring a report to a meeting has a lot more work to do than the boss thinks. First, reports ALWAYS take more than just "printing them off of the computer". There's formatting, misprints, etc. Then there's analysis, and then the formation of answers to likely questions. Plus, the inevitable frustration of knowing the boss will ask a question based on cursory analysis. it becomes an exercise in defensiveness, in many cases.

CAN you do it? Sure. Does it have pitfalls? Yes.

(By the way, the smart manager doesn't tell his team member what to do as you look at the report. He asks for a plan, and even if he disagrees, he jots some notes, offers to help it work, and then prepares to walk them through some questions about their plan's effectiveness after they've implemented it. Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment. Unless they're going to burn the place down, let them try their solution (that's why we have that fourth step in the feedback model).

I have shared your wonderful story of meeting with your franchisee rep with several associates, and we all say, "well done!"


Mark Horstman
Manager Tools

Nice job on the Podcasts Mike and Mark.

Nice job on the Podcasts Mike and Mark. I found you through the Cranky Middle Manager Show and I'm working through all the archives now.

I'm going to start one on ones, I love the concept and haven't seen it mentioned by anyone else. I actually have 2 peripheral questions.

1) My team is not huge (7 people) but there are 2 main groups to my team that rarely overlap (Purch/Inventory/AP and AR/Collections). Currently I do separate weekly meetings with each team to avoid wasting the other group's time. Would a single weekly meeting be a better idea and why or why not?

2) I regularly interact with other groups within the company but the culture is such that it results in a lot of drop-by's by other managers. Is there a way to apply the concept of one-on-one's with peers?

Thanks guys and keep up the great work.


Mark- Thanks for the kudos, and glad


Thanks for the kudos, and glad you got to us through Wayne's Cranky Middle Manager interview. Happy to have you join our community - don't hesitate to yank our chains or chime in regularly.

To your questions.

1. I don't thik one big weekly meeting is necessary. If your sense is that the content is different enough that you would be "wasting" others' time, then by all means stay with your present plan. This gives you the chance to add your distinct interpretation and operational guidance to waterfall messages, as well as get more sense of each group's issues. COULD you do one? Yes. I like your way better, though. It's possible that if there is some other connection between them besides just that they report to you (similar goals, unique common framework - all your call) that might justify a monthly all hands. But if it's only because you write all thier reviews, not critical.

2. Tougher question, and a good one. It's been my experience that one one ones with peers CAN work, but don't expect them to lower the number of drop-bys. If that's the culture, even regular O3s probably won't reduce them. If that's your goal - more uninterrupted time - peer O3s aren't the best way.

If you still want to try them, as I say, they can work well. Just eliminate the last 10 minutes and split the 30 mins down the middle. Offer in the first few to keep notes for both of you, if you like. I've done them, and liked them. BUt, I've also NOT done them, and just worked very hard at each of my peer relationships. Lots of lunches, 15 minutes after meetings catching up, assertive, non-broadcast mails to those affected by my work, with specifics relating to them, liberal heads-up calls when I hear of stuff coming down/going around. If you decide to try this, your drop bys may increase... but your performance will too, enough to justify it, in my experience.

One of the best managers I know at this says it simply. "You want good peer relationships? Make it YOUR responsibility, do something EVERY WEEK to communicate/get together beyond the necessary/routine. Get to know their kids' names. It's so rare it will ASTOUND others."

Thank YOU. We love this stuff and look forward to continuing to provide insight and tools.


I'm starting one-on-one's this week. I

I'm starting one-on-one's this week. I copied my boss on what I was doing since he tends to let me do what I want but I prefer not to surprise him.

Here is his response to the one-on-one email to my team:

Mark -

This is fantastic. Let's you and I do the same thing. Once you have all of the team scheduled let's see what slots you have left and then let's you and I pick a time as well...


So far so good. Thanks guys.


Mark- What a great response! Glad


What a great response! Glad your boss is following your lead. Give him all the tools, and you will accelerate your own learning by being on both sides of the fence.

Keep us posted!


Dear Mark and Mike, Your podcast is

Dear Mark and Mike,

Your podcast is awesome! I will do my best to spread the word about you guys. Regarding the one-on-ones, I had a few questions.

First, I am believe I know the specific areas that my directs need to improve in and I also have specific ideas for what I want them to work on and how. But I'm wondering that if I ask a direct to come up with his or her own SMART goals, these may not be in agreement with me. What happens if we can't come to an agreement on the appropriate goals? For example, they may think they need to improve their organizational skills, but I believe they need to focus more on selling ability. Won't the meeting turn negative and deconstructive if I have axe their goal and insist on my goal for them?

Also, could you provide some more examples of effective SMART goals in different areas that have worked in the past?



Hi guys, My friend Alex introduced

Hi guys,

My friend Alex introduced me to your podcasts. I find these podcast extremely valuable for a manager or any employee looking forward to upgrade their managing skill (like me). After listening to your podcast on one-on-one, I was thinking it could be applicable for project management. For instance, I'm currently managing a project that involves every department in the company, so most of the time I have to work with multiple managers of a given department. I find it hard to get them all into a weekly meeting since everybody is "busy". So I think, after listening your podcast, to setup some one-on-one meeting with them.

Do you guys think it's a good idea? ...since the roles here are reversed, they outrank me. Some of them are collaborative, some are not.

Thanks! ...again great podcast, I got some catching up to do.

Tao- Sorry this reply took me so


Sorry this reply took me so long.

Thanks for the kind words! We're glad there's value in our work for you.

Yes, one on ones can absolutely work for project management roles. I encourage you to start them. If you are worried about time, try having them with only some of the the folks you work with, and see how things progress.

That said, I don't recommend immediately cancelling the meeting. If some of those with whom you work are gettting good value out of the meetings (you included, I'd keep it going. Its dynamics may change significantly once you start one on ones - you never know. I've found it's better to see how one thing affects another before making fundamental changes.

Technically, the fact that others outrank you doesn't matter. Realistically, of course, it does, but for now, tell them it's about the work, you're wanting time with them and the meeting isn't working, and explain what you hope to accomplish with the O3s. (By the way, half for them, half for you, no future/development portion).

Let us know how it goes!

It's a privilege to serve you.


Hi Mark, I just wanted to give you a

Hi Mark,

I just wanted to give you a follow up on my one on ones. So far 2 out of 5 is still on going. The other three end up having more important priorities over these one on one, but I do still meet them every 2-3 weeks. But during the time that I was having those one on ones, I was feeling that it help a lot having a few minutes every week to talk to them. It gives me a good "feel" of what they're saying (or wanting to say), which is not obvious to get from an email or a document. One of the downside I noticed (I don't want to sound lazy..), is that the fact that all these one on ones are prescheduled, my calendar become unfexible for any adjustment that I would like to have (for example, more time today to work on ABC instead of the one on ones schdeduled), so sometimes it forces me to reschedule them. What do you think?

Overall I think it's a great tool, but I feel maybe there a overhead of managing these one on ones? Bare in mind that I'm applying the one on one model to project management, maybe it's not the ideal scenario.


PS: great podcasts...still catching up!


Tao- Thanks for the update! Are


Thanks for the update!

Are you these people's boss? Do you write their reviews? What do you mean they have other priorities? If you're their boss... WOW! :-)

And, of course this will sound old, but EVERY thing on your calendar makes your time less flexible. If nothing is important enough to take precedence over other things, then nothing is important at all.

I would suggest it's possible that the problem's not with the one on ones if you can't find 2.5 hours a week on your calendar.

Hey - rescheduling is okay... but it actually makes it harder, because of the underlying cancer of "nothing is important at all."

So - are they your directs?

Don't take this as feedback (because it's not ;-) ) Sharing my thoughts, and asking for clarification.


I have been doing OOO's with my direct

I have been doing OOO's with my direct sales team for the last 2 months. We started out doing them every other week, after my last set I was ASKED to increase the frequency to every week!!!! The fact that I am dedicating the time, taking notes and actioning the issues is seen as a HUGE positive for the team. Since they have a diverse geography and are tasked with a lot of windshield time this has really been a boon for them, me and the organization. I am being asked about my revolutionary approach to field sales management inside the organization and out. (The secret of is no longer just mine)

THANKS Guys it would not be an understatement to say that these podcasts are changing the way I behave at work and at home. I feel guilty that I am getting all this stuff for free!!!!

If you fellows ever find your way to Phoenix, look me up and I will buy you a beer, steak or whatever floats your boat!!!!

Richard- A Hall of Fame note!


A Hall of Fame note! Thanks for the kind words.

We're glad you're getting value out of our work. I wish I were going to Phoenix next week rather than Tucson!

Keep us posted.


Thanks Mike and Mark I stumbled on

Thanks Mike and Mark

I stumbled on your pod cast a week ago, Being fairly new to management and with the words (single most effective) still in my thoughts i played your cast on the train to work

You are absolutely right management is boring and when done right is repetitive, but wow you make sound great

I conducted my one to one yesterday and it was great, the feedback i got from sending out your template email was very encouraging (needed to remove some on the GEE words to adapt to English slang). I really thought my folks would be negative or defensive but not so

Thank you both for giving me new lease of enthusiasm, I cannot wait to start the coaching and delegation models

Ok maybe you overplayed the boring bit

Glad you liked the show, and that we

Glad you liked the show, and that we lived up to our billing!

Really, management done well IS boring... to an onlooker. No fire drills, no no drama... just ways of communicating and working together that make sense and create results.

Learning management, and getting better at it... now THAT's "sexy."

Well done you!


[As promised, here is a posting of the

[As promised, here is a posting of the email I sent in]
Hi! My manager has been listening to your programs and has been conducting 1 on 1's with his directs for a couple of months now. He has been encouraging me to follow suit and I think it's a great idea ~ I've just started listening to the podcasts.

Here's my situation: I am an Asst Manager (since Nov 05 - a newly created position) in a public library branch with 9-10 directs, all part time. Hours per week for my directs average from 12-35 (I supervise Student Assistants who work 24 hrs per pay period).

I am the Circulation supervisor, needed to be available to troubleshoot library customer issues when they come up at any time. These include helping staff to handle complicated transactions that essentially need my help in walking through the steps since we have staff with different levels experience who need to work directly with the public.

Branch library staff work alternate Fridays and Saturdays. Our pay weeks are from Wed-Tues rather than Mon-Friday.

I am going to start setting up 1 on 1's (approx 3 wks from now except I think that's when my first vacation in a year happens, so maybe it would be better to begin directly after that). I'll shoot mostly for Tuesdays and Wednesdays as recommended but given our strange schedules, I can't fit everyone in on those days, since they simply don't all work those days.

What would you recommend for a 1 on 1 schedule? After listening to the programs, it sounded like every other week for part time staff may be acceptable, especially for those 24 hr per pay period student workers. Would it be better to try for once/wk for those who work at least 56 hrs PP, and every other week for those who 40 hrs or less per PP? Or keep to the same for all?

If 1 on 1's need to be rescheduled, perhaps given our Wed-Tues pay week it would be more acceptable to reschedule to the following week? Of course, if it does seem more reasonable for my situation to do bi-weekly 1 on 1's , rescheduling to the non-week would work very well if/when needed.

I am also concerned about the meeting location issue, at my desk. Given the nature of people coming up to me at all times for those immediate customer issues, I'm tempted to schedule the use of my manager's office for many of the meetings as the manager is split between 2 buldings anyway. We also have a study room that I can pre-schedule if the manager is in my building. I'm just concerned that even if I let everyone know before hand that the 1 on 1 time is "sacred", they'll still interrupt me if a library customer is complaining and wants/needs something from me. I am certainly willing to try it, and have a supply of my business cards at the ready if something comes up, and let everyone know to not disturb me with calls or in-person interruptions. Some staff however, will undoubtedly page me on the intercom if I get a call, as they do now.

What suggestions, recommedations do you have? I understand you are not able to give me a 5-pg plan :)

Thanks for your help, the shows have been really informative ~ in many ways better than much of the training I've received so far!


Jennifer- Thanks for posting here so


Thanks for posting here so everyone can benefit. Glad your manager shared us with you!

Here are my thoughts on one on ones in your situation:

1. Pay weeks mean nothing to scheduling O3s. Forget about that. Do them whatever day makes the most sense in light of your situation - you sound like you get it. The Tuesday Thursday reco is simply based on corporate schedule experience.

2. Start them after vacation.

3. Tell them it's sacred and ignore the pages. They'll figure it out.

4. Do it at the desk, I would say, unless there's always someone there and scheduling your boss's office is a hassle. Or, just sit anywhere in the library, AWAY from the desk to reduce normal question traffic. Patrons will figure out that you're otherwise engaged. The sacredness with occasional interruptions will be appreciated by staff, I assure you.

(This is based on an assumption I made (but am now doubting) that your desk is the circulation desk. If that is not so, ABSOLUTELY have them at your desk, and when someone comes by, tell them you're busy. They WILL learn. Your team will figure out that if they don't interrupt others' O3s, theirs will be uninterrupted as well.)

5. Further, focus on the core purpose of one on ones: quality time focused on your directs. Move in that direction, and you're fine. If you have to move it once a month, that's fine (but not every week).

Let me know if this helps!


Mark & Mike, Quick question

Mark & Mike,

Quick question regarding O3's. I'm getting ready to send out the first email and would appreciate your thoughts on sending the team the actual form ahead of time.

Thanks for the great content on the podcasts.


Gentlemen, I just found your podcast


I just found your podcast and I love it. I am looking forward to implementing many of your tools. Keep up the great work!

There is a unique challenge that I am facing in implementing one-on-ones and I would like your feedback on the issue.

For starters, I am a HR manager in a small organization of 200 employees and no directs. My reports are all dotted lines or shared and consist mainly of Production Managers who have their own goals and objectives outside of what I require of them. What advice do you have on handling situations like mine?

Thank you,

Sean- Probably best if you search


Probably best if you search our discussion forums for posts on your question!


Thank you Mark, I thought I was missing

Thank you Mark, I thought I was missing something.


Mike and Mark, I signed up for a year

Mike and Mark,
I signed up for a year of premium content today, not becuase there was anything I was missing but becuase I believe the free content alone is worth well more than the Premium Content price!
I have started listening to the podcast series during my daily commute and almost every day I arrive jazzed and ready to be successful. Your stuff is working for me. Yea, management ain't glamorous but it feels so good when it works!

Ron, Your support is very much


Your support is very much appreciated! AND thanks for the kind remarks!


Mike and Mark, My question relates to

Mike and Mark,
My question relates to one on ones and a small organization. I run a custom metal fabrication shop and have grown the business to 4 full time employees, 4 part time, contract book keeper and a offsite salesman over the past five years. After finding your one on one podcast I was gung ho to go set them up and begin the magic.

Then my mind started to ask questions.
1. Should I set this up with my key employees and set my production lead to do on ones with the boys in the shop.
2. Should the part time employees (6-16 hours per week) be scheduled in for one on ones as well?
3. Is there a most effective way for me to implement this process, then transfer the responsibilities to specific areas (managers?) of my company as they grow? I already see that the heads of my shipping dept, production, accounting and sales get something similar to one on ones without the manager tools structure. I also see the others down line in my organization are craving it too and would thrive on the time and feedback.
4. How will I be able to transform the relationship building into delegation for task and systems that currently keep my schedule overfull and off task on the most important organizational building work?

Mike and Mark I am looking for your guidance on overcoming fear to commit the time to one on ones. Help in determining if I should I work with everyone in my org, or how many directs before I change the structure. And ask if you know of a book whos title could be "business organization, structure, and policies for dummies."

I appreciate your podcast greatly and am devouring the content. Thank you so much for helping shift many paradigms in my business and family/work worlds.


[ Mike and Mark, I signed up for a year ]

thanks your feed back is great and I really appreciated!!!!

when is a one-on-one not a team meeting (and vice versa)...

I've just found this site and think it's great - I really like the way that you present with a practical focus.  having the "new to manager tools" RSS feed is very handy too.

I've already started to change the way I give feedback and it's working well with my direct. 

At the moment I only have one direct; he works full-time on a project for which I'm responsible, and I'm the only person in the organisation with the other operational responsibilities I have in addition to the project management.

I take your point about the one-on-one not being a team meeting with a team of one, and so not for cascading (waterfalling) information.  However, in a team of two it seems a bit artificial to have a team meeting for this as well as a weekly one-on-one.  Our department has roughly monthly briefings of this kind, and we have regular project-focussed meetings with our external contractors and the other colleagues involved (part-time) in the project.   

Any thoughts on this? - and did you do the podcast about the essential meetings suggested in the 2nd one-on-one cast? - I can't identify it from the text descriptions, and obviously have a lot of catching up to do to listen to all your casts! - luckily (in most other respects) my "commute" to work is a 20 minute cycle ride... ;-)

Thank you for all the great content - I'm really looking forward to listening.

Sarah, UK

One on one with a large staff.

Hi Mike and Mark

Just became a fan and member, and am ready to do one on ones.  The form is great! I have a large, dynamic professional staff decentralized all over the building and always working overtime (salaried).  I want to make this time for them and me valuable and to keep us connected.  Need your advice on how to schedule large groups.  I have 26 direct reports. No way I can find 13 hrs a week to meet with each one, am struggling with trying to schedule half of them a week.  What do you suggest as effective for such a large group?

I want to say how great this web site is for time pressed folks like me who can barely get a leadership book read anymore let alone apply good concepts.

Gratefully, JR

One-on-ones in a non typical environment

Mike and Mark,

We recently have come to find your site and instantly became a subscriber.  We have incorporated the O3's at the higher levels and have found them very effective but, we are struggling as to how to introduce them to our line level folks.  We are a valet parking organization with the majority of our staff working part time and moving from location to location fairly regularly with different leadership at each location.

Our struggle is this, 95% are part-timers, is a 30 minute weekly O3 really practical?  Our staff is scheduled to work based on demands of the property and not in the 'executive or knowledge worker' capacity.    In other words, when they are at work, they are parking cars, not a lot of time to have meetings.  

In addition, most of our locations have only one supervisory level person on site at a time so for them to break free, it is very difficult if not impossible based on financial obligations of the associated deal.  Another major hurdle is that so many of our folks are students or have other jobs and schedules outside of work are so packed, keeping a one-on-one schedule for the location would be mind numbing.   Also, the majority of these locations do not have any sort of physical office structure so occasional meetings at a coffee shop may not be a problem but if we are constantly in there conducting these, we may wear out our welcome.  

The biggest issue, schedules change each week based on demand so what may work one week won't necessarily work the next.

Our thoughts are if the Regional Manager begins to perform O3's with the location managers, we are hoping that the location managers will seek to perform these with their teams.  What advice can you provide us to make this  happen

I would love to have some pointers or advice on how to handle this.