Speak to the face

In How Regular One-on-One Meetings Saved Our Company Culture, Alex Turnbull highlights the value of regular, one-on-one meetings between management (in his case, CEO) and employees. A few comments / highlights below:

People aren’t happy when they’re working on things they don’t care about. Part of avoiding that issue is hiring people who care about the problems that you’re solving. And the other part is knowing deeply what each team member’s strengths and interests are, so that you can put them to work on projects and tasks that they’ll love (and thus, do well).

Interpretation : Know your team, know what makes them buzz. Help them to care about the things they’re working on. Show you care on a human level.

It’s so, so important [for a CEO] to be a good communicator, and to not just communicate what you’re doing to the team, but why you’re doing it. People do need to understand why we’re doing what we’re doing, and once they understand the why and the trade-offs, then people are more bought in. They understand that we’re doing something because there’s a good reason to do it and not just because Ryan says so.

​Even my 4-year-old son struggles to do something “because I say so” - he wants to know why it’s important. When I take the time to explain it to him, he usually “gets onboard” and even defends my logic to his little sister. (“No toys on the table, this is a eating place”)

Your team needs to know that one-on-one’s aren’t something that you’re doing for show. Put them on the calendar, and stick to the time. Things come up and sure, sometimes you’ll reschedule, but these should take priority in your calendar, even if a customer or partner call comes along.

​If you keep on putting off planned meetings, being late or cancelling, you send the clear message that they are not that important, and your efforts to connect won’t be taken seriously.