It’s incredibly hard to build good one-on-one meeting habits when you’re managing one-on-ones in Google Docs or Word. Docs offer extreme flexibility but nothing to support the discipline needed for building good one-on-one meeting habits. For example, remembering to create a one-on-one agenda each week.
Over time, a doc becomes increasingly harder to synthesize agenda topics and notes to get a picture of how best to support each team member. The longer the doc gets, the harder it is to get context for coaching team members.
Even the most diligent team members have to review the work that’s happening in their tools and manually enter them into the one-on-one doc. Besides the annoying factor of having to duplicate work status, it’s bound to be out-of-date in the place where they work less -- the one-on-one notes.
You spend a lot of time in one-on-one meetings. Three 1-hour one-on-one meetings per week is (conservatively) 150 hours per year, or more than 6 full days. Being able to track meaningful progress on how each team member is improving or developing is the only way to know if your management and coaching skills are effectively serving your team members.
Want to make note of each team members’ children's names? Need to make a note to check-in with someone because they seemed down in a meeting earlier this week? Need a reminder to share information that should be shared live rather than an email? Need to make note of the coaching you need to provide to support a team members’ performance? ...You can’t do any of this in your shared one-on-one document.
Consistent one-on-one meeting habits are good, but talking about only the same things every week is bad. Sometimes it’s good to focus on the task at hand, other times it’s important to focus on career development and getting to know one another. Docs make it easy to add undue focus on tasks rather than the most important part of one-on-ones, investing in your team members' development and maintaining a strong relationship with each person.
If you’re looking for a more effective way to manage your one-on-one meetings, try Teaming.