The one-on-one meeting with each of my direct reports is the most important meeting of the week.
In today's issue, I'm going to teach you how to hold a one-on-one meeting with your sales reps.
The one-on-one is where you build trust and alignment with your team. Without them, it's easy to lose sight of what's going on.
Many leaders use this time to focus on their items, such as PIPs and Pipeline Reviews. This leads to the reps dreading these meetings.
When you properly hold one-on-one meetings, you'll get:
Here's how to do it:
When kicking off the process of one-on-ones, you want to set expectations and establish logistics. This shows the team your commitment to doing them.
First, establish when you will do them and for how long. Most research suggests to hold them weekly or bi-weekly for 30-60 minutes. I prefer to have them weekly for 30 minutes on the same day, with 15-minute buffers between them. This gave us frequent enough communication to stay on top of everything.
Next, set expectations. I let the team know that this is their time and they could use it as they pleased. We will co-create an agenda and work through their items first and then mine. If we don't have time to get mine, we'll push them.
Make sure they know these are not to be scheduled over or rescheduled. If you have to reschedule, get in on the books for the same week.
In the Project Oxygen study, the team found that our higher-scoring managers (at Google) are more likely than lower-scoring managers to have frequent 1:1 (“one-on-one”) meetings with their team members. - Google re:Work
Pre-meeting preparation ensures you maximize your time together.
I expect the agenda to be filled out 24 hours before so I have enough time to prepare. I will also fill out my agenda topics 24 hours in advance so they have time to prepare. This is important for two reasons:
They will take this as seriously as you do. Come to the meeting unprepared for multiple weeks in a row, and you can expect them to do the same.
Remember, this meeting is about them and not you. During the meeting, it's important to do 3 things:
First, shut your phone off and turn the notifications off on your computer. They will not feel prioritized if they see you checking your phone or pulling up Slack on a Zoom call.
Next, make sure they are doing the majority of the talking, and you're doing the majority of the listening. Use good active listening skills. Listen without any judgment and without thinking of your response. Ask follow-up questions to ensure you fully understand what they are saying.
Lastly, take good notes. When you have a day or week full of one-on-ones, it's easy to forget things no matter how well you listened. I like to take notes by hand and then transfer them to the shared one-on-one document.
1:1s are quiet, focused collaboration time for employees and bosses to connect. It’s also the most important chance for you to hear from your employee, and it’s their time, not yours. - Kim Scott, Author of Radical Candor
Follow-up is where you cement the trust that you built in the one-on-one. After each meeting, it's critical to do the following steps:
I can't stress how important it is to complete the action items. They will only take these meetings seriously if you do what you said you would do.
By using this one-on-one format, you'll create a culture of trust. This trust is the glue that holds the team together. It gives you the ability to move quickly and adapt to any situation.