Notes to self

Not gold alone brought us hither

Dec 20, 2016

One on ones (howto)

Andy Grove explains how to have effective 1x1s in his classic management book High Output Management.


  • Block regular time; tune frequency for individual
  • Show up on time; don’t cancel at the last minute
  • Prepare discussion points; ask him/her to do the same


  • Be flexible; some structure but not too much
  • Do some “loose timeboxing”; ensure time to cover most pressing points
  • Set expectations around what is most important; create an incentive to focus
  • Be fully present; shift gears and get out of autopilot
  • Make a difference in the life of this person; devote full attention
  • Strike a balance between asking questions and listening; consider it a precious moment of connection
  • If the conversation diverges, get it back on track
  • Give them time and space to think about what they want to express


  • Start positive by sharing a win
  • Ask direct but open-ended questions about goals
  • Ask questions about career plans; do not neglect the personal
  • Ask strategic questions (e.g. are we focused on the right things?)
  • End with a note of appreciation and gratitude; words of affirmation mean a lot