I have used One on Ones sporadically and think they are great but I am no longer sure as to how appropriate they are to my business.

My business model has changed where I no longer have direct employees but rather joint venture partners who develop and create their own business under the umbrella of my company and legal authorisation (UK Financial Services Authority). I provide them with a full training in my profession and the entire back office support. The plan is that they will in turn become equity partners in the company.

The goal for each partner is autonomy over the level and scale of business they produce as such I am not really their superior, but rather a coach/mentor/visionary of the entire business.

My thinking is that I use One on Ones until the partners are fully autonomous and then I can integrate them into partner meetings. My concern a is that at that point the partners are an equal and may not appreciate the input from myself which may appear as coming from on high.

Your thoughts and wisdom is appreciated.


Joel Zimelstern

jrumple's picture
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For me it boils down to one question: Is it important that you have a strong working relationship with the partners?

If having a strong relationship is important, then I think one on ones are a good way of building that. You'll probably have to tailor them from the format used with direct reports given the different sort of relationship you have with these partners. Still the basics I think work for you. The meeting starts where they present things they want to talk about. Next, you cover questions or topics that are important to you in the relationship. Since you see the relationship as a coaching or mentoring relationship, save time at the end or use your time for coaching.

I use the One on One form for lots of meetings I have that are centered around relationship building, including my mentoring sessions at work. It is a handy format to take notes. During this year's annual review period I found these forms to be extremely valuable in looking back and taking stock in just how much progress we had made over the year. There were many achievements that I had forgotten about and I wouldn't have been able to give individuals credit for them if I hadn't written it down. In our company we get an opportunity to provide peer inputs to managers for annual reviews. I was able to include these early achievements in my inputs for a couple individuals who were not my direct reports.

You can change the name. You can change the note taking form. I still think that regular communication in the 10-10-10 time division is important and will serve you well in your current role.

Colorado Springs