Discover more from Leading in Product
My 1:1 Cheat Sheet
A meeting that focuses on the broader picture
I regularly conduct a meeting with the members of my team that I call the “Wide-Angle Meeting” (you know, like a wide-angle camera lens). This is a one-on-one meeting with only me and the team mem ber present. Like with a camera’s wide-angle lens, the focus is not on the daily business, but on general and personal views.
This meeting is not about current operational problems, current operational developments, Jira issues, bug reports, deadlines, or status reports.
This meeting is a reserved space, usually happening once a month, to talk and think about things like personal concerns, wishes, career goals, fun at work, chances for the company or the employee, or motivation.
To get the exchange going, I prepared a Cheat Sheet with the following questions:
What has excited you lately?
What are you afraid of?
What has frustrated/disappointed/stressed you lately?
What are your biggest wastes of time?
What is the biggest mistake our company or our team is making right now?
What should we start doing as a team?
What is the biggest opportunity for our company right now?
What are your biggest uncertainties/understandings about the company and product strategy?
Who in the company is doing outstanding things right now?
What motivates you?
What do you want to learn, or get better at?
What are your long-term goals?
Statements and questions about me as a supervisor
What I, as your manager, am currently working on
What can I do better in general or in a specific situation?
What would you do differently if you were me?
What can I do to make your job easier?
Sometimes I add questions to the list, sometimes I alter them, sometimes I remove them.
I usually have the sheet printed in front of us, or virtually shared, for the first three times I conduct this meeting with someone. There is no need to ask all the questions, and I leave it up to the employee to choose the questions he or she wishes to answer. Sometimes, I may ask one or two questions from the list to break the silence.
After three or four meetings, the character of the meeting is clear and the sheet is usually not needed anymore. I still bring it every time, though.
Benefits for the manager and the team member
The benefits are on both sides: In these very honest, deep discussions, I learn a lot about our organization that I would not know otherwise. The team member, on the other hand, has an opportunity to be heard and to speak about personal goals and developments. Even when times are busy, this reserved space helps to focus on the wider picture.
Thanks for reading Leading in Product! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.