Many difficulties in management can be resolved with regular one-on-one, or O3, meetings. Unlike review meetings, which focus on past performance, the O3 meeting focuses on your employee’s current projects. As a manager it giving you an opportunity to get updates, create action plans and uncover any issues ahead of the curve.
The more frequently you hold O3 meetings the shorter the actual meeting will be and you will be able to make faster course corrections ahead of any problems. If you can, it is ideal to conduct O3 meetings once a week with each of your direct reports. At a minimum you should be conducting O3 meetings once a month.
Here is how to have a successful O3 and harness the power of this simple management technique.
Have an agenda: Both you and your employee should walk into the meeting with an agenda of what you would like to cover for that day.
Stay on point: Stick to what you agreed to talk about in your agenda as much as possible. Leave a little time at the end for additional questions or thoughts.
Be consistent: From the start, you must be consistent in the meeting structure, how you are going measure results and the frequency of your O3 meetings. If you cannot commit to once a week try every other or once a month. Then re-evaluate your structure at the end of the year and make adjustments as you see fit.
Let the employee start: Always let your employee start the meeting. O3 meetings are about the employee’s goals, their environment and what they need to do next.
What happens in an O3 stays in an O3: Give your employee the safety of knowing that what is said in an O3 meeting will not be shared with other staff. If there are any HR issues you should handle those accordingly.
Take notes: It shows you are listening to their situation fully. It is also useful to have a timeline of information, in writing, in the unfortunate event that you have to ever terminate that employee.
Commit to action steps: Both you and the employee should write down two or three action steps that you will take after the meeting. As a manager sometimes this is simply checking-in on the status of the project.
End on a high note: When you finish the meeting, say something nice about what the employee has done recently. Also ask them to tell you something they love about their job, fellow team members, or to share something great that is going on outside of work.
Jabez LeBret is the author of the Amazon No. 1 bestselling law office marketing book How to Turn Clicks Into Clients. As a partner at Get Noticed Get Found, a legal marketing agency, over the last nine years he has delivered over 800 keynote addresses in six countries. His main area of expertise is managing Gen Y in the workplace, advanced Facebook strategies, LinkedIn strategies, Google+, SEO, local directory optimization, and online marketing.