My Favorite Tool for Developing People

My Favorite Tool for Developing People

As leaders and managers, one of the most important ways in which we can help people (give), is working on their personal and professional growth. A lot has been said and written about people development and coaching: it improves performance and results, it requires constant feedback, it generates trust, it improves motivation, etc., etc. I completely agree. So as a leader, how do you actually do it? My key tool for this is “The One-On-One Meeting”. I do it every other week, with each one of my direct reports, and it lasts one hour. In my last job as CEO, I had nine of them, plus 3 young high potential managers to whom I gave a once a month mentoring session, under the same structure. This implied I spent one full day per week on One-On-One meetings. I can tell you they are the most valuable use of my time, thanks to the improvements in all the things mentioned above. And if that weren’t enough, it also helped me improve as a leader. Here’s my structure for “The One-On-One Meeting”:


1.- WELLBEING (10 minutes)

How are you? How’s your family, hobby’s, activities/interests, health? What are you doing for your wellbeing? Vacations, work/life balance? How are you feeling at work, with the company in general? How can I help? Follow on previous commitments and establish new ones.


2.- PERFORMANCE FOLLOW-UP (15 minutes)

How are you doing with key objectives, KPI’s, projects? Debate on new ideas and actions to achieve desired performance. Provide feedback on performance. Follow-up on previous commitments and establish new ones.


3.- DEVELOPMENT  (35 minutes)

Follow-up of personal development plan. What has been done? Learnings from development activities? Establish new actions and behaviors (ask “what are you going to do differently from now on?”) that should appear after development activities are completed (training, reading, on-the-job assignments, etc.).  Provide feedback on observed behaviors. Ask for feedback on your own personal development plan. Follow-up on previous commitments and establish new ones.



Share and discuss relevant information on the company and the competitive environment; discuss possible impact on the company. Share your vision going forward; new challenges, expected developments, etc.


There are some pre-requisites: a.- some kind of prior appraisal of performance and development needs; b.- set clear goals and plans for each, c.- knowledge about the person (for point 1). Many companies have good tools for the first two, but all you really need is pencil and paper and a good conversation to establish them.
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