Structured Communication

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One-on-Ones: Where Ideas Are Generated

One-on-one meetings are a powerful tool for integrators as well as management. They allow the interviewer to reinforce company culture, to identify issues before they become problems, and to recognize potential leaders, among a myriad of other benefits.
One-on-ones don’t necessarily need to be performance reviews or official status reports. They can simply offer an opportunity to catch up with an employee and see how they’re doing. They also provide a chance for the employee to share any ideas with the manager that can be brought to the Ideas Meeting.
At the beginning of the Business Integration process, one-on-ones allow the Integrator to get to know the staff and identify any potential leaders. It’s an invaluable resources for learning the ins and outs of the company.
One of the main goals of a one-on-one is for a manager to see how their employee is doing at their job. The manager should prepare some notes about the employee’ performance ahead of time. Make sure to mention where the employee is excelling and where they might be able to improve.
The manager should also be receptive to receiving ideas from the employee. The manager is the front line for establishing this aspect of the company culture. Whether the manager decides the idea is good or not, they should commend the employee for bringing the idea to the table.
"Workers become more engaged when they see their ideas being used. And managers, seeing the impact of employees’ ideas, give employees more authority— which leads to more and better ideas,” according to the Harvard Business Review. In fact, should be read by every manager under the Snowball umbrella.
At its most basic, a culture where ideas flow from the bottom up creates a competitive advantage. When the leadership team is thinking about ideas, they’re generally focused on big-picture concepts. But if you’re able to generate ideas from people who work directly with customers, you’ll see that the customer experience improves. If you’re able to implement ten ideas per year that each have a 5 percent improvement for the company, that’s a 50 percent improvement.
Fleshing Out Ideas
If an employee brings an idea to a one-on-one meeting, the manager should work with them to flesh the idea out. Begin phrasing it as an outcome or solving a specific problem. “What does this idea fix?” or “what does this idea improve?”
Then ask these questions related to their suggested solution:
Does this affect the bottom line?
Does this improve quality of life?
Does this simplify an existing role?
Does this exemplify one of our core values?

Then, try and come up with alternative ideas. Every idea should have an alternative idea. Go through the strengths and weaknesses for the employee’s original idea as well as the alternative idea. What are the strengths of the alternative versus the primary? What are the strengths of the primary versus the alternative? What are the weaknesses?
Use that information to try and come up with a third option that takes the strengths from both and gets rid of the weaknesses. The manager can then take that idea to the Ideas Meeting.
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