Managers utilize one on ones to have dedicated time to discuss issues, share goals and keep in touch with how your report is feeling. It’s one of the standard tools in the manager toolkit. Without proper organization, it’s pretty easy for conversations to go on tangents, discuss project work and just talking to have fun. While it’s fun to have casual banter, I have found that having an organized routine will help keep your conversations productive and focused.

I have adapted a system to keep track of the one on ones that helps keep conversations focused, reduce surprises by having a shared communication channel and to keep conversations focused on goals.

You can find the template here.

There are five sections:

  • Discuss this Week
  • Revisit
  • Roadblocks and Wins
  • Goals
  • Action Items

Each one on one, I go through the following routine. Start with an overall gut check. Ask how they are feeling. Be patient and let them answer. Then share how you are doing, remember it’s always a two way conversation. After go through each section of the document. Record anything that is discussed for future records. Then after you are done, copy the whole first section to the Record Log and then reset the top “Discuss This Week” section. While it may sound like a lot of work, it only takes about 5 minutes and will keep your conversation productive. You’ll notice how large this document gets, it’s awesome! Every year it’s a fun log to look at.

Feel free to adapt this template for you. I found the original idea from the folks at Patreon when my wife worked there. It has worked well for me so hope it helps for you too.