Rich and Rachel were a bit surprised when they noticed I had a regular weekly one-to-one meeting booked with Michael. I had worked with them closely for over a year, relied on them heavily, but a relative new comer with less responsibility got a dedicated slot from me. How come?
In fact there are four reasons I book one-to-one sessions:
- Person can’t get access to me
- I can’t get access to person when I need it
- Corridor conversations are too infrequent
- Subordinate has a performance issue
Person can’t get access to me
It might be counter intuitive but I don’t have a regular one-to-one meetings with Rich and Rachel because these two are really important to me. So important that they can interrupt me at any time and I’ll make space for them. Kind of an open door policy – if such a thing exists in an open plan office.
In contrast Michael was working on something lower priority and he struggled to get hold of me at all – despite sitting right behind me. The only way I could guarantee Michael some of my time was to pre-book it. And even then, if I was pressed for time, his slot was the first to get axed. The brutal reality of work life.
Or put another way, I book a regular meeting with people who can’t get access to me because they are working on something low priority to me. Admittedly these meeting might be infrequent.
I can’t get access to person when I need it
I arrange one-to-one meetings with my own management and key stakeholders when I can’t get access them on a more casual basis. If I can just grab them I don’t bother with a regular meeting. But if I can’t just grab them I will book time with them in advance.
Corridor conversations are too infrequent
Keeping people in the loop is important but I’m so busy delivering that sometimes I forget to talk. That means there are some people – again key stakeholders – I can get access to, and should, but I don’t think of it enough. For people where there is always something to discuss, but I don’t bump into them enough to discuss it, then I book a regular slot.
Subordinate has a performance issue
The last reason I find to book a one-to-one is when a subordinate has a performance issue. This forces us both to monitor the issue. Nuff said.