Reimagining 1:1s: The Key to Building Stronger Professional Relationships

The Traditional 1:1: A Relic of the Past

One-on-one meetings have long been a staple of the corporate world. They’ve been the venue for everything from monthly Key Results Area (KRA) reviews to quarterly performance assessments. While these formal settings can be great for tracking professional metrics, they often fail to capture the essence of a successful working relationship: personal connection.

The Quality Over Quantity Paradigm

When it comes to 1:1s, it’s easy to get caught up in the corporate lingo and the formalities. But the crux lies in making the other person feel valued, important, and most importantly, connected. That’s why I advocate for a more personalized approach: focus on quality over quantity.

Getting to Know Your Team

The first step in this new approach is to spend time understanding your teammates’ interests outside of work. This isn’t about prying; it’s about creating a two-way street for genuine interaction. And believe me, it pays off. The more you invest in knowing your teammates, the more meaningful your professional interactions become.

Let’s Take This Outside

Why keep the interaction limited to the office space? Changing your environment can significantly alter the way you connect. Here are some of the places I’ve successfully turned into 1:1 venues:

  • Sauna & cold plunge sessions
  • Golf courses
  • Fishing trips
  • Coffee shops
  • Running trails
  • Restaurants
  • Breakfast spots
  • Biking adventures
  • Parks
  • Basketball games
  • Van travel
  • Exquisite dinner excursions
  • Shooting hoops

From Work Talk to Life Talk

You’ll find that once you’re out of the office, the conversation naturally shifts from work talk to life talk. It’s a game-changer. You start to see your colleagues as people, not just as professionals. And trust me, these deeper connections improve work collaborations and problem-solving.

Friends Beyond Work

Perhaps the most rewarding part is that when your paths diverge professionally, the friendship doesn’t have to end. You’ve built a relationship that transcends the workplace, which can continue to flourish in other settings. The value of that is immeasurable.

Closing Thoughts

So, it’s time to rethink your 1:1 strategy. Take it off-site. Make it personal. Trust me, going all-in on the personal front is an investment that brings exponential returns on the professional front. Try it, and experience the magic of meaningful 1:1s.

There’s a lot to be gained from breaking the mold. I’ve found this approach to be incredibly effective for enriching both my personal and professional life. So, what are you waiting for? Start turning your 1:1s into invaluable life experiences.