How to Have an Effective Weekly 1:1 Meeting

Listen to our podcast episode on this topic here:

Over the twelve years that Adam and I have worked together a lot has changed. We’ve built several companies, iterated others, coached thousands of people, wrote a book, launched two podcasts, learned how to become better leaders, and built a company culture of work-life presence. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is our weekly 1:1 meeting. We have been meeting every Monday morning for 30 minutes (1 hour during the first couple of years) for 624 weeks. Yes, we may have missed a Monday meeting once or twice over that time, but we would either move it to the following day or it wasn’t necessary because we were both on vacation. That is how important this weekly meeting is to both of us. And I, for one, attribute it to much of my personal growth and professional success over the years.

If you haven’t implemented a weekly 1:1 meeting with your direct reports, or more specifically, with your leader and/or Force Multiplier counterpart, now is the time!

Why Are Effective 1:1 Meetings Important?

Having regular 1:1 meetings ensures employees feel supported and valued at work. We often get stuck in the day-to-day task-oriented world, but a holistic approach to a company’s people strategy has become more critical than ever. Support, engagement, feedback, growth, and development are just as critical to company success as priorities, goals and metrics!

What is the Goal of a 1:1 Meeting?

Effective 1:1 meetings serve many purposes. Here are some primary goals and takeaways to consider for each meeting.

  1. Facilitate collaboration and alignment on priorities, goals, and objectives.
  2. Track discussions and decisions by creating historical notes for access as needed while keeping unresolved talking points in sight.
  3. Provide structure for collaborative and productive meetings by creating clarity, setting expectations, and providing clear next steps/action items.
  4. Keep everyone’s eyes on the vision and overall priorities and respective goals. Keep your goals displayed with your agenda to help stay up-to-date on status, make decisions, or remove roadblocks.
  5. Allow room for feedback. This is possibly the most important aspect, as it is critical for both personal and professional development, as well as overall company success. The key is to maintain two-way feedback.
  6. Encourage career development and create a clear path to growth. It is important to talk about personal development and understand your employee’s career aspirations. Get to know your employees and help them reach their goals. This allows for job fulfillment and increases employee retention.

Implement a Framework

Setting aside the time to hold a weekly 1:1 meeting is only half the battle. Having a clear and consistent structure in place ensures that the time invested is time well spent. It can also keep the conversation from veering into a status update meeting or a task assignment meeting. There is a time and place for those types of meetings (or better yet, put it in an email), but the weekly 1:1 meeting is not it.

These meetings are for bigger conversations about projects, priorities, and company vision and growth. They are also about alignment, feedback, and coaching, as needed. A framework of questions, a consistent meeting agenda, or a document like the Weekly Execution Plan can keep you both on track and wanting to meet each week.

Add Value

These meetings need to be a value-add for both parties. The leader is there to guide and coach as needed. The Force Multiplier is there to gain clarity, lead up (which sometimes means coaching their leader), and ensure alignment and prioritize in the Executive Office, as well as throughout the company.

If these meetings are done well between a leader and their Force Multiplier, it could be the only meeting they need together each week. Priorities are clear. Decisions are made. Both parties are confident that the other will be executing on what they need to in order to keep projects and deliverables moving forward.

If you are looking for some additional 1:1 meeting frameworks, click here to download our free guide!

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