How To Get Action In Your 121s

"My 1 to 1 sessions seem to just fizzle out at the end of each one, usually because we run out of time and need to get back to the work place. How can I overcome this?"

This was a great question that was asked by a delegate from Malvern Hills District Council during a Management Development Programme we were running for them.

Let's take a look at some solutions....

Does the following sound familiar to you?

You are coming to the end of your 1 to 1 meeting or coaching session with one of your direct reports. You have both talked a great game and discussed some really worthwhile topics but time is now against you both and you need to come to a rapid close!

Now which of the following happens to you?

"Ok DIRECT REPORT, that was a great session I will write an email of the action points and send them to you"

or

"Ok DIRECT REPORT, that was a great session, we'd better get back" [note, no close or follow up]

or

"OK, DIRECT REPORT, let me summarise what we have discussed, we have covered XYZ and ABC, you will do GHJ and I will do KLP"

Normally when a development session comes to a close, you end up with one of the three scenarios above.

They either:

1. Just come to an end with no summary of action points or who is doing what

or

2. You as the manager decide to get all of the action points down in an email to send them to your direct report

or

3. You summarize the meeting of what was discussed and take responsibility for communicating the action points.

I recommend that you do not use any of the above!!!!

If I had to choose it would be # 3 but instead here is what I recommend that you do....

Firstly you should concentrate more on the closure of a session than you have been doing. What is the point of a meeting if you do not concentrate on WHAT NEEDS to be done and WHEN rather than the WHY?

Leave yourself more time than the normal 5 minutes you do at the moment to close the session.

As a general rule of thumb, if you are running a 60 minute session you should start to wrap up at the 40 minute mark leaving a good 20 minutes for the close.

So that's my first recommendation.

My second recommendation is that to close you ask your direct report to summarise the meeting there and then and also ask them to document all of the action points and get them to send them TO YOU!

Here's why:

1. You are making the direct report responsible for the meeting and the action points

2. You are ensuring that they have understood and listened to what you were both saying

3. If you start to do this during every session you will condition the direct report to pay closer attention to what is being said during the meeting because they know they will have to summarize

and send you the action points at the end of it!

4. It lightens your workload [yippy I hear you shout!]

5. It promotes empowerment and shared responsibility for the development of the direct report.

6. You are acting as a leader rather than a note taker and backside wiper! (sorry about that last statement but I am sure you know where I am coming from with it!)

So, start to get your staff members to take more responsibility during your 1 to 1 coaching sessions.

The result will be awesome I can assure you!

Like always if you need any help with anything you know where we are.

Author:.

Sean McPheat is the Managing Director of MTD Training, a leading UK management training company. Sean is regarded as one of the leading authorities in leadership development has been featured on CNN, ITV, BBC and Arena magazine. Sean also owns some of the most successful professional development sites in the world includin...

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