Four Strategies When Holding 1-on-1s

By: Daniel Soeiro Sanches, Guest Post

I took quite some time until I found out how 1:1's would work out well for me and my team--it actually took me a year. When I look back and think about what has actually helped me in having constructive 1:1's, I have 4 points that I follow:

1) One Size Doesn't Fit All

People are so different from each other and have so many different interests and ambitions (personal and professional) that even though you might standardise on a template or a series of questions, the most important is that over time you understand how to get each person talking which will be unique.

2) Understand Why You Need to Have 1:1’s

Across the different types of people that I have managed, driven by their uniqueness in styles and background I have found out extremely useful to understand why I need to have 1:1's. The most frequent whys that I have discovered are: 1) a need for coaching; 2) a need for getting up to speed on the small details that are not talked in the drumbeat team meetings; 3) provide a safe environment for feedback and discussion and any other topics that could be affecting performance; and 4) provide a time slot to discuss career and ambitions.

3) Good Quality 1:1's Require Preparation

This can be done via a template, but what I typically do to make sure there is always something to discuss is: 1) note down three to four things concerning the person's work that I want to know more about; 2) note down specific feedback from the past week/weeks (and this alternates between feedback on how to improve, and recognition for work completed); and 3) always request feedback on something I may have done over the past time period since we last talked.

4) Some 1:1's Should Be Strategic On a Quarterly Basis

I always ask my reportee to review her/his workplace and provide me with an overview of the results achieved to date and whether they are on track/off track. This provides room for discussion, open and honest feedback and typically also supports my building of a story for the person when the performance review time comes up. It also makes sure both of us are up to speed.

For more information and to connect with Daniel, please see his LinkedIn Profile:


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Three Questions to Ask When Creating a Mission Statement


Simon Sinek, in his book, Start With Why, makes it clear that leaders must ask the correct questions when guiding their teams.  Sinek believes that this question is "Why--" to determine why the team exists, and their purpose.

This purpose can be summed up in a mission statement.  From a larger company level, or a specific team level, all teams need to have a mission statement to guide their work.  Though Sinek makes a compelling argument to "Start with Why," I feel that there are actually three questions we must ask when we are creating the mission statement for our team: 1) Who, 2) What, and 3) Why.

1) Who

The "who" is important because it describes who is responsible for carrying out the mission of the company or the team.  It is helpful to list this out from a broad (company) perspective, but also at a specific team level, so that all can adopt the mission statement as part of company or team culture.

2) What

The "what" specifies what the company or team will be doing on a day to day basis.  This can describe from a broader sense what it is the company does, or from a team level the work the team accomplishes.

3) Why

The "why" is the third question teams should ask when creating the mission statement.  The "why" describes the purpose of the organization, and why the team exists.  This is the goal of the organization or team.

By answering these three questions, we can create mission statements that unifies our team to actions that accomplish our larger goals.

For more strategies on creating mission statements, see our eWorkbook: How to Create A Mission Statement.


Sinek, Simon. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. New York: Portfolio / Penguin, 2011.


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