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Why one-to-one meetings are critical for the company success?
One-to-one meetings go wrong
The experience of global players like Google, Apple or Facebook, as well as numerous IT start-ups worldwide, is that exceptional talent is hard to find . This is especially true in places like Silicon Valley but also in technology hubs like Berlin, Dublin or Singapore where companies offer everything from free food to gym memberships to make working for them more attractive.
Top talent often pays more attention to company culture, team structures, management and career perspectives than a discount on their next bicycle. They want to work on their careers, feel valued for their achievements and be challenged and motivated on a regular basis. Because of that, the management of a company needs to spend time with their key employees, develop career paths with them and work closely together on projects. A great tool to make sure that employees feel valued and can deliver exceptional work, are one-to-one meetings. Unfortunately, monthly or quarterly one-to-one meetings can easily become useless because managers do not plan them properly or talk about their own strategies, plans and the overall situation of the company. In short they fail to engage and inspire. So what are the key aspects making a one-to-one meeting valuable? Here are some tips:
It´s all about the employee
- The employee should talk most of the time and have time to address general problems or issues as well as minor suggestions. Even things that are not the direct responsibility of the manager should be discussed and feedback has to be valued. If the employee sets the agenda for the meeting and suggests topics they want to discuss, the manager should make sure that the topics are relevant to the employee . This gives the employee the chance to talk about topics which do not fit in a typical team meeting or specific project meeting.
Make it concrete
- Make it concrete. Even if an idea to improve certain processes or solve problems is just an initial idea and is not properly developed yet, it´s important that the manager sees the value of it. How can employees feel encouraged to share thoughts in the future if only perfect solutions are valued? Discuss the next steps and keep the employee in the loop about progress in the next weeks.
- It´s terrible to see how many employees do not enjoy working for their company, they are unhappy with their boss or don’t feel valued. This leads to low quality work, top talent leaving the company and ultimately poor company performance in comparison to competitors. So be willing to ask questions like “What do you hate about this company?” or “What do our competitors do better?”. Honest answers require a lot of trust between the employee and the manager. So do value feedback and don’t punish the employee for being honest.
Learn more about one-to-one meetings and management
These give just an idea of how valuable information from one-to-ones can be. If they are done in the right way, they can be a perfect way to find and solve problems before they become dangerous for the company.
Do you want to learn more about management styles and how to overcome existential threats for a company? Ben Horowitz, Co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected entrepreneurs, wrote a fascinating book called “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”.
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