One on Ones

Henniker-Warner_-NH-10-11-2008-Radical Growth Blog
The Bridge from Mediocre to Excellence is Trust

Have you ever wondered why your company or department is stuck somewhere between “Good” and “Mediocre”? You know that you have a solid team. You know that your company offers superior products and or services; but something is missing. You just know that your team could do more, perform better. You feel certain that there is a whole other gear that just isn’t being used. You feel certain that your team likes you, they seem to like the company, and your department. Are you mistaken in all, or some of the above assumptions? What is missing? What is right in front of you that you just are not getting?

You are a solid leader! Let’s say that your instincts are all correct. So what can you do now? How can you get to that next level, shift into that all illusive next gear. How do you cross that bridge from mediocre to excellence? 

“Trust”. Trust is at the heart of all great relationships. Whether you see it from this point of view or not; you do have a relationship with all of your team members. The question for you now is: Is it simply a professional (working) relationship, or do they see you as a trusted friend? Are they able to open up to you as a friend might? If I, or another stranger were to ask each of them if they saw you as a friend; what would the answer be?

If the answer to that question was “Maybe”, or worse yet, “No”. How do you change that? I would like to propose “One on Ones”. There are several types of One on Ones, the most frequently used are based upon performance reviews, these are very valuable, and should be used to guide performance and growth throughout the year. These are the type of one on one that I alluded to in the article “See Them for Who They Can Be”.

The style of “One on One” that I am speaking of today is one that focuses on the team member. This style of one on one is truly about the team member, it’s all about them. I have actually provided my team members an optional roadmap to help them prepare for our meetings.

My first suggested topic is “Successes and Struggles”. This allows my team member to share things that they are proud of, successes they have had since our last meeting. They also get to “Vent” any frustrations they have struggled with, roadblocks to success, time wasters, areas that in their opinion hinder our delivery of legendary products and or services.

My next suggested topic is “Training”. Very simply, what can I as your leader, or the company as a whole offer you individually, or the team as a whole, that will help you be even more successful in your role? I also ask for ideas for delivery, and based upon the team members skill sets and comfort level, I may even ask them to develop the training as they envision it, allowing for ownership, while expressing my confidence in them, and my admiration of their forward thinking commitment to the success of the team, and the company as a whole.

The next piece of my suggested roadmap is 100% all about the team member. We refer to it as their “Five Year Plan”. This section is for those on my team who have chosen to take a totally voluntary trip with me that is focused on helping them achieve their personal and professional dreams and goals. I’ll offer up more on this in a future post.

Offering your team a platform such as this; one that they control how the meeting goes, plants a stake in the ground that tells the team member that you are in fact highly focused on them as a person. It makes it clear to all that you truly care about them. It shots loudly that; how they feel matters.  If you are doing this right, you will find out quickly, that your team looks forward to these meetings. If something gets in the way of one, causes a cancellation, your team members will ask you when it can be rescheduled, even before you can bring that up.

The risk. If you are considering this platform, be certain that you can fully commit. Take notes, follow through, discuss in the next meeting what you are doing in regards to what was previously discussed. Do not start this type of one on one, if you cannot commit to taking action on what is brought to your attention. If you don’t take it very seriously, if you don’t follow through, you will have harmed your cause instead of helping it.

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