Have a Better one-on-ones

Illustration created by Chia exclusive for this article

Have a Better one-on-ones

Re-thinking about the purpose of the one-on-one session and building better trust with colleagues
November 12, 2021

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Originally posted on my Twitter in Indonesian πŸ‘‰πŸ» Link to thread


As the only designer in my pillar, which consists of 11 squads with 12+ PMs, apart from the project-level meetings, most of my meetings here are 1on1. Because of that, this is the points that I feel are the most appropriate to discuss on 1on1.

🧡 Having a better one-on-ones πŸ‘‡πŸ»


Personally, I often use this 1on1 session to build trust and get closer personally, especially to PMs.

And, tend to avoid talking about projects. Because there is already weekly/bi-weekly check-in to talk about the project with the full-team.


So, What are we talking about in 30 minutes? Usually this:

- What was interesting in the past week (to get to know more each other, build trust)
- Focus on things that cannot be discussed in large forums (barriers, blockers, personal feedback, etc.)
- Just talk about the project when there is still time (optional)


The above format that I personally feel is good for 1on1 so far. But the purpose of 1on1 is better to discuss with the person, so from the beginning define and agree together about the purpose of 1on1.


1. What was interesting in the past week

I put this out early because it's for ice breaking. What's interesting can be anything, usually something personal and outside of work. Just casual chat. Even I like to ask questions about my curiosity about the behavior of the Japanese people directly to the Japanese people, haha


2. Things you can't talk about in large forums

Now this is actually the main part of the 1on1 session that I'm looking for. Remove blockers or barriers, which can be helped by our them.

Can talk from high-level issues to micro-level issues, according to the person that we talked with. The key is to talk about what we can't talk about elsewhere.

In the last 3 months, I got a new colleague so now there are 2 designers on my team. I also focus on that when having a 1on1 with him, trying to help him remove barriers and unblock things. And try to provide support in high-level and micro-level issues.


3. If you still have time, then talk about the project

This is rare for me. But if I still have time, I usually use it for Nemawashi. Look for help when I present and get initial feedback for something I'm working on. So it's good when I have to present it in the larger forum, because it's already quietly laying the foundation on this step.


And, what my lead always asks at the end of our 1on1 session what I like the most is: "what can I do for you this week, my friend?" So you can ask for anything related to work, from asking for work device support, for example, to asking to be connected to XFN leadership to chat.

A good 1on1 can be our investment as designers to build trust and smooth out our work later. It also eliminates the awkwardness because we often share personal stories, which can finally make us relax and share about blockers at the office without feeling uncomfortable.

Lastly, considering the habit of working at Indonesia, when you call, you rarely open the camera. Try to get used to opening it at 1on1, so it's really like talking to humans. Even the work situation can become a conversation like "hey, where are you? How come it's such a great place" etc.


End of Thread. Thank you for reading.

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