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Should You Mandate One On One’s?

by David Brock on May 28th, 2017

Jon Birdsong, CEO of WideAngle raised a fascinating question in a post:  Should You Mandate One On One Meetings?

My immediate reaction is if the manager and sales person are conducting these meetings correctly, the value of the meetings becomes so great that mandating them is a moot point.  Each looks forward to the meeting because each is learning and growing.  The meetings are helpful to both in growing and achieving their goals.

As a result, the meetings become a valuable use of each person’s time.  They can’t imagine not having them.

Unfortunately, too often this isn’t the case.  Both the sales person and the manager go through the motions.  Neither is learning, little is being accomplished other than a data dump, probably of information that was already known.  These meetings become a waste of time.

Which brings us back to the point, should they be mandated?

In the first case, they will always happen, because of the value created.  In the latter case, the manager and sales person breathe sighs of relief and use their time differently—though not necessarily better.

But the issue really is, these meetings are critical.  They are really needed!  Sales people need coaching, they need to learn and grow.  Managers need to be engaged with their people, not just understanding what they are doing, but doing everything they can to improve performance and develop the people.  One On One’s are a critical means of doing this.  They are critical in making sure the manager and sales person stay connected and engaged with each other.

If managers aren’t conducting them well, if sales people aren’t getting and giving value in the meetings, it is unacceptable to abandon them!  We have to fix them, we have to refocus them to get the value they should produce.

It is unacceptable to let the manager and sales person off the hook.  Making them optional gives them the excuse not to do the things we know are critical to success, engagement, and performance improvement.

While both the manager and sales person are accountable for leveraging the time spent in one on one’s in a way that creates value for each, the key responsibility for making this happen is with the manager.

Here’s where the manager’s manager comes into place.  If a manager isn’t leveraging one on one’s effectively, that manager is not leveraging a key tool to drive performance.  The manager’s manager has to coach the manager, getting them to both recognize the power of effective one on one’s, their responsibility to create an environment to conduct these high impact one on one’s, and helping them improve their ability to conduct those one on one’s.

One on one’s are mandatory.

But if we are doing our jobs as managers, the fact they are mandatory should be irrelevant.  We need to make that time managers and sales people spend in one on one’s so valuable, neither can imagine not having them.

Are you conducting one on one’s that create real meaning for both the manager and the sales person?


Afterword:  For those of you who are not familiar with Wideangle, it’ s very powerful tool for managers and sales people to leverage the power of one on one’s  It’s something every manager should look at.



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