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One-On-One

Clearbit's guide to honest, productive, and enjoyable one-on-one meetings
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Kick-off the meeting

Ask your team member about the highlight of their week (this doesn't need to be restricted to work; anything will do)

Read your team member's prepared update in silence 

Have your teammate create an update prior to the meeting. The update should: 

  1. Center around their OKRs for the month/quarter/year. Split into 'what went well', and 'what could improve' sections around each objective
  2. Track progress towards their KPI's
  3. Summary of any pertinent information about how their goals have gone. e.g. What new information did you gather about the customer? The product?

Go through your team member's issues (and proposed solutions)

Try to keep to a few minutes for each issue and not get bogged down in minutiae. For clear asks, give an immediate response or create a follow-up task. Otherwise, we recommend helping people come to their own conclusions, it'll foster a sense of healthy independence.

Cover any open-ended discussions (time for blue-sky thinking)

Prompt your report to create topics prior to the meeting.

Ask, "what are your three most important things to get done by this time next week/month"

Preferably whatever they come up with should be related to their OKR's. Jot down the three tasks in your project management system, set the owner, and the due date for the next one-on-one. 

Feedback

Be extremely candid and clear with your critical feedback, leave no room for interpretation. Make sure to give both positive and negative feedback. 

High-five

This seals any commitments and parts of the meeting with a good note. 

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One-On-One

There's a simple way of communicating feedback that avoids provoking anger and defensiveness. Simply communicate in the following format: "When you do a specific action, I feel [emotion] because [story/reason]. My request is …, can you do that for me?"

Feedback should be in the like that/wish that format:

  • Like that… Say what did you like about the team member’s actions since the previous meeting? Be specific. During the week, actively look for actions to compliment
  • Wish that… What do you wish would change? Be as specific and vulnerable as possible. We recommend using the format detailed above
  • It's required that... behavior that needs to change/improve, otherwise the next step is a performance improvement plan
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About the author

Alex MacCaw

Alex MacCaw

Alex is the co-founder and CEO of Clearbit, a B2B platform that helps companies analyze their data to better understand, and serve, their customers. Alex moved to San Francisco from London at the age of 17 to pursue a career as a software engineer after teaching himself programming at a young age.

CEO of Clearbit
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