Archive for December, 2016

A better way to do 1-on-1 meetings with your team

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

It’s been almost 4 months at SirionLabs. I started as a Chief Marketing Officer, to drive a data-driven marketing culture. Within a month, I started working on activities which were ancillary to what a marketer is supposed to do—soon my R&R got expanded (more on this, in future).

My immediate challenge was how do I get acquainted myself to a large cross-functional team. I don’t like sending e-mails to a large distribution saying, “Meet your new boss”. Being on the other side of the table, I always hated those e-mails coming from someone who was many hops away.

A better idea was I thought, why not simply organize 1-on-1 meetings.

The big question was how do I get them excited to talk, get them engaged with me, still have a formal communication, but break-the-ice right away.

In the past, I had mixed success with 1-on-1s with large teams–they were a hit or miss. When my former bosses did 1-on-1s with me I always thought, “Is he even listening to me?”, “Does he even know what I’m working on?”.

I did not want my extended team think about me the same way. Plus, I wanted to deep dive into their inner-workings, what they do, what excites them, what demotivates them, etc. etc. The theory was that if the discussion started within the context of their day-to-day work, the answers would be easily found. I hypothesized.

A better way to do 1-on-1 is to start with a demo, get the team member present what they are working on, present an idea, and then do the formal 1-on-1.

Here’s a screen grab of the agenda of many such 1-on-1s I did last week, this week and many more to go the next week.


I’m going to continue to use this format in future. I found it engaging and made both the parties to open up quickly and start at a common ground.

PS> It’s a different topic altogether that the 1-on-1s are not an easy feat by itself when you have dozens of people who are 13 and half timezones away!