Monday, April 9, 2012

What is your 1:1 ratio?

In some countries, companies are preparing their Q1 fiscal reports on how they performed over the first 3 months of the year.  How many leaders and managers will take the opportunity to have quality 1:1 conversations with the people they manage, to do just the same? I know from experience that leaders often find it difficult to nurture the time, energy and discipline to have even biannual or annual review conversations with the people they lead.   The prospect of having 1:1 conversations quarterly, monthly or fortnightly, is for some, unthinkable.

Which, quite frankly, is a shame.  

And a wasted opportunity. 

Not to do myself as a leadership coach and consultant out of business, but I do believe that companies could make a step change in their individual, team and ultimately their organisational performance - and save money from employing external coaches and trainers - by doing that one thing: having dedicated 1:1 conversations with the people they lead to systematically review performance and progress. 

It is like choosing the right bicycle may feel like it takes some effort to turn, but it will be the one which will take you the furthest.  

In the workplace, regular formal conversations alongside the spontaneous and informal, create momentum.  Often I will hear bosses say “I see them every day so we don’t need to have formal 1:1s”.  However often this means conversations are about the transactional task or project at hand and there is little space to talk strategically about one’s development, motivation, working relationships and goals. 

Sometimes 1:1s can feel like you are ‘going through the motions', undertaking a process that has to be executed – rather than what it really can offer...the opportunity to step back and reflect deeply on experiences, learnings and ways forward. 

Here’s a challenge: undertake regular 1:1s with your people, and see what difference they make in performance. 

Need some guidance on how to have those conversations? one way is through appreciative inquiry.

Image source: graur codrin /

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