One-on-Ones Part 1

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?

Mark and Mike discuss the single most effective management tool - the one-on-one.

Mark and Mike updated the One on One Podcasts in 2012. The old podcasts have been archived and are no longer available.


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Manager Tools Podcast Over the last

Manager Tools Podcast

Over the last couple of days I’ve been catching up on podcast I found through iTunes called Manager Tools created by Michael Auzenne and Mark Horstman. Each episode is about 30 minutes or so and give advice and useful process around things you...

Michael and Mark, Last week I had my

Michael and Mark,

Last week I had my first round of one on ones with my staff and have gotten extremely positive feedback. I have also begun to use the delegation and feedback models as well. I wanted to shoot over a personal thank you for these podcasts. They've been a huge help to me in getting more organized and more effective in my communications over the past couple of weeks.

Keep up the great work.

I just found your Podcast last night on

I just found your Podcast last night on iTunes. I've listened to the first two installments on one-on-ones and I'm hooked. I'm excited about the practical approach you take and look forward to implementing one-on-ones with my direct reports. I tried my own version of one-on-ones a couple of years ago and it fizzled out. Thanks to you I can now see some of the mistakes I was making.

MessengerBoy- Glad you found us and

MessengerBoy-

Glad you found us and thanks for the kind words. As you progress with one on ones and the other tools, let us know if you have questions or comments.

Best,

Mark

Ron- Thanks for the kind words!

Ron-

Thanks for the kind words! Glad you found us and that the tools are working for you. I went to your blog, and was impressed by many of your insights. I also noted you used one of my experiences to reinforce your point related to NLP and anchors - good catch.

Please share with us whenever you can whatever suggestions and guidance you have. You're clearly a management thinker, and we'd appreciate your insight.

Best,

Mark

Hello Mark and Mike, I have

Hello Mark and Mike,

I have completed a couple of weeks on one on ones and they are going great! I am having a hard time deciding how to keep my one on one notebooks. Do you usually have the forms in a binder for each employee, or do you transpose the format into something like a composition notebook?

Thanks!
Starly

Starly, Glad they're going well for

Starly,

Glad they're going well for you! And congratulations for taking the step and implementing one-on-ones ... you'll quickly wonder how you ever did without them!

Personally, I use the Circa Letter Notebook from Levenger (http://www.levenger.com), but the same principle would apply with a 3-ring notebook. I prefer having a *single* notebook with all my employees one-on-ones contained within. I'm on the road quite a bit, and I find it much easier to travel with a single notebook -- I can simply grab the one notebook and be off. If you don't travel, a single notebook for each employee will work equally well.

I would certainly try to avoid an extra step of transposition -- adding work to the process will start to hang you up mentally. One-on-ones shouldn't be a burden; done correctly, you should actually find yourself looking forward to them each week.

best regards,
Michael

Starly- What Mike said. ;-) I

Starly-

What Mike said. ;-)

I keep them separate, but based on Mike's suggestion, I think I'm going to try consolidating. Many times I have not taken all of mine with me on the road.

And, NO WAY would I try to consolidate. I have found that any admin seems fine in the beginning, but in crunch times it doesn't get done and then I feel frustrated that it is "undone".

Great to hear from you - keep up the good work!

Mark

I found this blog whilst searching for

I found this blog whilst searching for info on NLP (Neuro linguistic programming) I notice that you have mentioned it on your blog, so i would like to ask a question and perhaps you or your blog readers could answer it.

My question is: Would it be possible to use NLP for helping you to learn a language? and if so, what techniques are best?

Many thanks,

Chris.

I am a lateceomer to this pocast. I

I am a lateceomer to this pocast. I just started today and have scheduled all my people, including part timers, for one-on one. This seem so simple, why didn't I think of it. I guess that's why I'm not a managment consultant.

Eric- Hey, go easy on yourself! It

Eric-

Hey, go easy on yourself! It took me many years to get to this version of the tool. When I started, it was, "gosh, I need to get to know my folks better, and I better have some discipline about it..."

Let us know how it goes!

Mark

Mark, I had my first taste of the

Mark,

I had my first taste of the Manager Tools podcast about a couple of months ago and I am hooked. I like the practical advise and the real world examples.

One of the things I have taken on is starting one-on-ones. Is there a way I can download these older one-on-one podcast on my iPod?

Varun

Varun, Sure. Simply download the

Varun,

Sure. Simply download the podcast to your PC (right-click the link and "Save As ..."). Then drag the downloaded file into a playlist within iTunes.

Send me an email if you have any problems (michael AT manager-tools DOT com) and I'll send you a more detailed email.

regards,
Mike

It worked Mike. I think starting up

It worked Mike. I think starting up One on ones will really help me and my team. You guys are doing a great service to the management community.

Mike and Mark, I can't remember

Mike and Mark,

I can't remember which podcast discusses getting to know your direct's family by name, so forgive me if this isn't the correct one. You expressed some VERY strong opinoins on using people's names. I heard you...

I (re)started my O3s in July and in the new meetings I took your advice, bit the bullet and outright asked my employees (who have been working for me for over three years) the names of their spouse and kids. I was embarrassed to admit that I didn't know but they were forgiving (and as you suggest, I think they already knew). I wrote their names down and every week I ask about and try to mention their names. This is quite a challenge, by the way, because my employees are francophone West Africans and the names are not only strange to me but often impossible to spell - Al Mounouwara for example.

So did it work? You bet! I just had my mid-cycle performance review with my supervisor. I'm pleased to report that my review went very well and he provided me feedback from my staff. He was quite impressed that my staff noted to him that I took the time to get to know them, that I knew the names of their kids. (Obviously they don't see me cheating with my notes!!) To the maximum extent possible I avoid saying "your husband" or "your daughter". The actual names are music to their ears. Thanks for the advice!! I expected this to work, but I didn't expect it to show up in MY performance evaluation.

Happy New Year!!

Peggy- What a great way for us to be

Peggy-

What a great way for us to be ending 06 and starting 07! Thank you for your kind words, AND for using our recommendation that helps you and your team be more effective.

It's a privilege to serve you,

Mark

I'll never complain about my personal

I'll never complain about my personal challenges with remembering names again! :-)

[...] (1)If you haven’t subscribed to

[...] (1)If you haven’t subscribed to manager-tools podcasts yet give it a go. There are some great ones in the archives. Start with the DISC model ones, then do the One-On-One podcasts, there are two titled “Single Most Effective Manager tool Part 1 and Part 2” or something like that. It’s a more formalized version of the Daily 5. Nice supplement to Managing with Aloha (not that it’s needed, buy the book AND do the podcasts - they’re different people and different spins.) [...]

Great work guys. Keep them

Great work guys. Keep them coming!

Mike and Mark, I've been following

Mike and Mark,
I've been following your podcasts for over a year now. I must admit I'm a bit behind n listening, and more so in implementing your suggestions.

And now I've been transferred...so I'm starting all over again. Of course one of the first things I do is set up O3s with my staff and learn the names of their spouse and kids.

I moved from Cotonou, Benin (francophone West Africa) to Pretoria, South Africa (anglophone) thinking, "Ah great...an anglophone country with names I can spell and pronounce...WRONG--ahhhh...now I have Kgopotso, Kgothatso and Ipeleng!!! I'm so glad I take notes.

And thank you for your podcast on thank you notes!

On of my new year's resolutions was to get good at thank you notes. I recognized it's a lost art, and I've fallen out of the practice. You're helping me achieve my goal, and it's only March. Thanks!

I can tell from your responses to the comments that you don't intend to eliminate this as a critical tool for managers. My vote...keep emphasizing the importance of thank you notes.

Cheers,

Peggy

Mike and Mark, I recently discovered

Mike and Mark,
I recently discovered your podcast and have found it so useul that I've been going back to the pocasts I missed. For people that have noticed an improvement in my performance, I've cited it as a reason and have recommened the podcast to them as well as my managers.

Now its time for me to give back a little. In this podcast, you asked for suggestions for electronic notetaking techniques. Like yourself, I have been a long time Levenger Circa user but finally found the electronic substitute r - Microsoft OneNote

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/onenote/FX100487701033.aspx

It costs about $100 or for you other IT managers with MSDN access, its part of what they offer

In addition to the flexiblity and other benefits offered by Levenger or 3 Ring binder:
The big benefits
1) Since its integrated with Outlook, you can flag items in your 1 on 1s for follow up as mentioned in the sense of Urgency Podcast
2) One of the goals of 1 on 1 s is communication. Since its integrated with outlook, I've started the practice sending an email copy of my notes to the employee (although, sometimes I need to edit out some personal notes). This removes any ambiguity about what was discussed and serves as an implied contract about what each of us will do.

Other benefits:
1) Like many people these days, I can type faster than I can write
2) Full Text Search
3) Sort Notes by Dates edited

Regards,
-Sean

Sean- Thanks for the input.

Sean-

Thanks for the input. Unfortunately, we're really quite opposed to ANY technology in the One on One. The fact that such systems make things easier for the manager don't offset what we have repeatedly seen as a degradation of the relationship building purpose of the O3.

AT our conference, one of our attendees shared that his researchers have discovered that when they interview someone while typing up notes, there's a distinct difference in experience for the interviewee. Specifically, they can HEAR how much you type... and if they say a lot, and you only type 5 words, that attenuates the relationship and communication.

No technology! :-)

Mark

I've been listening and ingesting and

I've been listening and ingesting and recommending your podcasts for months now. But I've fallen into the self-help trap of reading and thinking but not _doing_. (Maybe it is time to listen to the procrastination 'cast).

I've finally taken the plunge. I've sent one-on-one invitations to my team.
Three months later than I thought, but finally, off we go.

Thanks again for the wonderful tools ... and the push to use them.

Spazm- We've done a procrastination

Spazm-

We've done a procrastination cast, but we keep putting off publishing it. ;-)

Keep us posted on how things go.

We're pretty good at pushing.

Mark

I recently re-organized my team and

I recently re-organized my team and reduced my directs from 25 to 5 people, creating two brand new people managers in the process. From day one I insisted they fully adopt your feedback model & one-on-one system...and my office has NEVER run so smoothly and employee sat has never been higher. Thanks so much for the tools.

Also, my wife is a manager of two and is also deaf, so she can't benefit from the podcasts. I try to pass on as much as I can to her & the slides help. Have you made any transcripts of the "single most effective" casts? I would love for her to benefit from your podcasts as much as I have.

Hi M&M, I joined an IT firm as

Hi M&M,

I joined an IT firm as project Manager a couple of months back. I have never ever practiced One on one as a process per se, even in my previous job. After pondering over it for long I am getting convinced on how this helps, but still I have many reasons for not starting it :-) One of them being I don't yet have regular project meetings. I have around 4 projects running with the help of four Project leads. Do you think, project meeting is the first thing to start. This will leave One on One for exclusive topics than the ones that otherwise fit for the project meetings.

Thanks,
Ravindra

Rnkondek, I suggest starting 1on1s

Rnkondek,

I suggest starting 1on1s and a weekly staff meeting. Then you can see how it goes and if each project needs its own meeting. I would do a monthly review with each project.

Steve

Thanks Steve. I am curious to know

Thanks Steve.

I am curious to know more about what you suggest as weekly staff meeting. Is it meeting with all four teams, together? What would be the agenda? any reference from the podcasts?

Just wanted to circle back on the

Just wanted to circle back on the technology-in-the-meeting question...

smgraham2 suggested Microsoft OneNote, but I think with the right foundational technology, this can replace paper. I have been doing One-on-Ones for about a month now using Microsoft OneNote with great success. However, I DO NOT TYPE ANYTHING. I use a Tablet PC (a notebook you can write on) and use OneNote like a pad of paper. I even took your One-on-One notes sheet and converted it to a OneNote template so that I am actually writing on your form. I am still hand-writing the notes, but I have the technology behind it to file, review, and store them electronically. No distracting tapping on the keyboard and no looking away at the screen. It truly is the best of both worlds and I highly recommend it to all who attend a lot of meetings and take notes - it is fluid and natural.

Dan Bobke

Hi Mark and Mike, I'm a latecomer to

Hi Mark and Mike,

I'm a latecomer to the mgr. tools podcasts / techniques, but find the structure and clarity quite useful, so thanks very much.

I've listened to the one-on-one cast, and have a question. I'm a mgmt consultant, and work directly with my a small team (3-4) on an almost daily basis (e.g. packed into a small conf. room). Projects typically run 12 - 16 weeks, then a new team forms. I feel that the one-on-one will work, and want to implement for all the reasons you clearly lay out, but am wondering if you have any specific tips / techniques for this type of situation where daily interaction / short duration teams / and tight deadlines are the daily norm.

John

Oh, my, what I have found! Discovered

Oh, my, what I have found! Discovered link in iTunes a couple of weeks ago and immediately began to download podcasts to listen to on my 45-minute commute each day. I also promptly forwarded the link to a group of guys that I just started meeting with to study just such topics as you are addressing! I am a middle-executive in one of the largest companies in the world and have both been to and conducted countless training sessions...but absolutely nothing I have ever heard or read comes close to the practicality and dead-on advice that you guys are putting out there. Thank you so much for what you are doing and I look forward to not only hearing and learning more but also to your continued successes! (By the way, I noticed on your profile that you are in Fredericksburg, TX...we lived in Kerrville, TX for 10 years and know the area well...)

SCTKC- Thanks for the kind words!

SCTKC-

Thanks for the kind words! Glad you're here, and getting value from our work.

Mark

Hi there, I lucked out and found your

Hi there, I lucked out and found your podcast while browsing through the iTunes store. Of course, I started with the "single most effective management tool". I really enjoyed the podcast and have started downloading some others. For One-on-ones, how would a direct report be defined? Our company has a matrix management scheme (line manager and program/project manager). Would the one-on-one be done with both managers or only with one of them?

Jason- Thanks for the kind words,

Jason-

Thanks for the kind words, and glad you're already getting value from our work.

You're in somewhat of a gray area with matrix orgs. Sure you can have someone do one on ones with two different bosses...we recommend that. The problem is that it's very hard to motivate another boss to do that. Even getting YOUR boss to do it is problematic.

Nevertheless, we do recommend you start them with those you have as your directs (those whose review you write), and try to do them as well with those whose review you don't write, insofar as it's possible.

Mark

Mark and Michael, I am listening to

Mark and Michael,

I am listening to your podcasts for a short while now. Let me say thank you, I get a lot of valuable insights from you. So keep up the great work.

Quick question here: I have only two directs and we are working in one room together. We are also running a daily morning 15 minute meeting we call "morning briefing".

I am not sure if it is worth to start with one-on-ones in this situation. Any suggestions?

Martin

Mark and Mike, I'm in the process of

Mark and Mike,

I'm in the process of implementing weekly one-on-one meetings and I'm finding myself resisting the process the way it's outlined in your podcast. The reason is that I'm used to each direct providing me with a list of each project categorized by project type. For each project I previously asked my direct reports to provide me with the following information:

Project X
- Recently completed tasks
- Next Actions to move the project forward
- Open Issues

This was in the form of an Excel spreadsheet with a color to indicate the current project status (green = tracking well, yellow = issues that need to be discussed, red = In danger of being late.

When I abandoned my previous method and implemented your worksheet I felt like the structure and status "meat" were missing.

Am I micro managing by asking for the level of detail I previously required? Perhaps I need to loosen up and trust the process?

-Tom

Although an individual contributor, I

Although an individual contributor, I like to read the advice that's out there for those who want to be excellent managers. The other day I mentioned to my peers that one aspect I've read about great managers is that they hold one-on-ones with each of their reports. In essence they sneered at this notion as hopelessly unrealistic. In referring to one-to-ones and other means of feedback as "babysitting," I fear they may have been reflecting the boss's attitude, and hence that of the whole eight-person organization.

That's a shame, but at least resources like this article give me one great idea of how excellent managers operate. I've never had a manager who gave regular one-on-ones, or who adopted many of the other practices you suggest. How would one go about finding such a work situation without wasting a lot of time sifting through the skeptics?

HBR has a regular column called "The

HBR has a regular column called "The Best Advice I Ever Got." Dec 2007 is by the President and CEO of the Boston Consulting Group. Quote: "Every week or so, he would engage us one-on-one to discuss how we perceived our performance, what we liked to do, what we thought would help the project go well, all in a nonthreatening way."

There's more, but what better endorsement could there be?

John

John- I tore the article out to blog

John-

I tore the article out to blog on it - loved it! Thanks for reminding me.

Mark

Phillip- It would be nearly

Phillip-

It would be nearly impossible, and I also think impractical, to search for a manager who does one on ones. There are managers who are quite good that don't do them, and there are some that say they do them who simply do them poorly.

The best way to create this kind of world is to get yourself promoted and start doing them yourself. Be the change you wish to see in the management world.

Mark

Hi Mark, What are your

Hi Mark,

What are your recommendations for a Project Manager for using one-on-one?
Should he use them in the same way as a line manager for his directs. E.g. if the Project Manager leads 5 team managers he has 3Os with them and motivate the TC's to do the same with their teams?

I have the feeling there is a slight difference in the third part the development of the employee / project member. A PM help to develop his team but extra attention by a resource manager in a matrix organization to add also the budget for courses etc..

Thanks in advance for your Advise! I used 3Os in the past as a line manager and they really help to build trust.

Best Regards,

Edwin

Edwin- Yes, as a general rule we

Edwin-

Yes, as a general rule we recommend doing O3s for PMs. We recognize that the climate is different, and there are orgs/situations where they are more difficult to make happen. Sometimes the PM can, and sometimes also he can get the TCs to do so. (We do think it's easier than most PMs want to admit, but that's a different story. ;-) )

To your point as well, you're right there too: we simply change the structure to be 15/15 vs 10/10/10.

Good catch!

Mark

Hi Mark, Thanks for your quick

Hi Mark,

Thanks for your quick response which confirms the approach for PMs!
I used to be a line manager. The coming week I will take a PM role
ad interim and do the O3s with the TCs (15/15) and encourage them to use 3Os
with their teams.

I really enjoy manager tools. I hope you come back to Europe in the near future.
Unfortunately I could not make it to Schiphol in January for the European Effective Manager Conference.

Keep up the good work. It is really appreciated!

Best regards,

Edwin

Hi Mark, I am the lead pastor of a

Hi Mark,
I am the lead pastor of a church plant. We are two years old with one full time employee under me and the rest of our "staff" are volunteer leaders. It is extremely difficult to create a time to do one-on-ones with the volunteer leaders due to their regular jobs, families, and hours already given to serving in our church. Managing in a non-profit, volunteer based organization is difficult!

Should I table the idea of one-on-ones with the volunteer leaders and just stick to having a one-on-one with the one employee? Is it worth the time to have monthly one-on-ones with the volunteer leaders (I don't think it is probable to have them any more frequently)- or is that not often enough?

grace and peace,
Todd

Hi, I'm a new manager and actually

Hi,

I'm a new manager and actually sought out a podcast for managers prior to getting the job. I started my job today and was told the organization is undergoing some restructuring so I'm not really sure who will be under me. I've been given a tentative list of staff members, which includes a few who applied for the position I'm in. I've been told that a few are a bit hesitant to accept my guidance since I'm new to the organization so that makes me a bit nervous when dealing with them.

I'm wondering when should One-on-Ones begin? I would also like to resume the bimonthly staff meetings which haven't occurred since the position was vacated. We deal with facilitating workshops and nothing has been done to prepare for the September calendar. Should I start the One-on-Ones after the first staff meeting, which I'm hoping will get the ball rolling in designing the upcoming workshops?

In victorious spirit,

Victoria

I also have some thoughts that are a

I also have some thoughts that are a bit in line with Victoria's. During the cast, Mark says 10 minutes for personal issues -- like what is happening in my life? The assumption is that the manager is an ethical person? ... what if the manager takes those personal things and uses them against me [for the Machiavellian managers] in the future?

So as a direct, if I judge my boss to be an unethical and Machiavellian person [from their past history], how to I take my non-work topics out of the equation in a smooth way?

Mixing Personal and Professional Discussion

I've been listening to Manager Tools for quite some time, but I'm just getting around to listening to some of the classics.

I just recently began one-on-ones a few weeks ago and I have some mixed feelings about discussing our personal lives at work. While I understand that the first 10 miuntes is for the direct, I have reservations about asking too many probing personal questions. I'm a big proponent of keeping our business and personal lives separate. While some casual small talk ("How was your weekend?") may be appropriate for the workplace and necessary for relationship building, I feel that discussions about our personal lives at work introduces a conflict of interest unless a personal issue outside of work is affecting our ability to perform and must be discussed. I understand the big picture of building relationships with directs, but where do we draw the line so that we don't have an unhealthy mix of personal and professional discussion? Perhaps it's all I've ever known; in my six years of work, I have never had a manager ask about my personal life and I think I'd rather have it that way.

I will let my directs have the floor for the first 10 minutes and allow them to direct the discussion of their personal lives as they feel comfortable, but I don't plan to pry too much into their personal lives, nor do I feel it is appropriate. Am I misinterpreting the intent? I feel that we should stick to business at work as much as possible. Am I a cold-hearted manager?

One-on-Ones - indirect reports

Hi Mark and Mike,

What do you recommend to do re one-on-ones with non direct reports that are subparts of a team? My team includes a senior admin officer and junior admin officer. The junior is supervised by the senior and the rest of the team of 8 reports to me. Do I include the junior admin officer in a one-on-one or not?

Thanks
K

One-on-Ones - indirect reports

Hi Mark and Mike,

What do you recommend to do re one-on-ones with non direct reports that are subparts of a team? My team includes a senior admin officer and junior admin officer. The junior is supervised by the senior and the rest of the team of 8 reports to me. Do I include the junior admin officer in a one-on-one or not?

Thanks
K