By now, you may know I love a good process. They truly keep me sane. Effective processes are even more important when you own a business. Being intentional about how the work gets done means less energy spent on managing projects—and more time for focusing on the work only you can do. That’s how you’re going to grow your business.
Have you ever delegated a project to a team member and weeks later realize you never heard if it was completed? Or sat through a meeting with an employee only to walk away and realize you still have questions? These disconnects happen when your projects lack a rhythm and your meetings lack structure. And there’s a simple solution.
Weekly Meetings Aren’t the Answer
One of the most underutilized tools a business owner has is one-on-one meetings—especially if you do them biweekly (every other week). Weekly meetings, even the short ones, take up a lot of time in the long run.
One 30-minute, weekly meeting adds up to 24 hours (assuming four weeks of time off). That’s 3–4 full days of work a year. Alternatively, a biweekly meeting that’s 30 minutes adds up to 12 hours. What if 12 hours out of the whole year was all it took to keep each team member on track?
Even if you need an hour-long meeting, weekly adds up to 48 hours and biweekly comes out to 24. Rarely are weekly meetings needed. We suggest filling in the gap on the off weeks by having everyone fill in their Weekly Big 3 and project updates on a team report.
How to Do One-on-One Meetings Well
To be that efficient, you’ll need to be intentional when you meet with your team members. Using a templated agenda can ensure you cover all the important updates and issues. We use an agenda that includes the following sections.
- Wins. Your team member lists the wins they’ve experienced in the last two weeks, personal and professional. Taking the time to celebrate wins improves motivation and rapport.
- Weekly Big 3. Review your team member’s Weekly Big 3. These are the three projects or tasks they will focus on this week. Check if they are aligned with your priorities and adjust as needed.
- Project Status. The team member lists the status of each of their current projects. The three statuses include:
- Green – on track
- Yellow – chance of delay or delayed
- Red – paused or stopped
Tracking the status of each project ensures you get an update on its progress without having to remember to follow up. It alerts you to any issues before they arise.
- Discussion Points. Your team member can list anything else they need to talk about with you. These items could be about new ideas, problem solving, resource requests, etc.
- Action Items. Record any actions that have been assigned in the meeting, who is responsible, and a deadline. These details keep communication and expectations clear.
You can also include sections for their Ideal Week, upcoming time off, or professional development—anything you’d like to prioritize or check in on with your employee on a regular basis.
Prioritize How You Spend Your Time
One of the other benefits of a templated agenda is that you can ask your team member to fill it out the day before. It’s not on you to figure out what to cover. That’s your direct report’s job. Of course, you can note questions that come up between meetings, but most of the effort should be assigned to your employee.
When you don’t have to come up with a list of what to cover every time you have a one-on-one meeting, you free up that time to put toward tasks only you can do as the business owner, such as ideating how to achieve your vision, leading your leaders, and business development.
Try implementing this process with one of your direct reports as an experiment and see how it goes.
If you want to learn more about how to be more productive leading your organization, check out The Scaling Leader—our multi-year group coaching program for business owners and executives.
It’s also a good idea to check in on your business health. We have a complimentary tool called the Business Intelligence Grader. You can take the assessment here and learn about your strengths and opportunities for improvement.