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Senior Correspondent

Energize Your Organization with Conversation

Energize Your Organization with Conversation


You can’t lead and neglect people at the same time. Busyness that distracts from people is deadly to organizational energy.

Don’t let paperwork and meetings prevent you from quarterly one-on-ones with your team. People aren’t the problem, poorly managing your time with them is.



Moving the ball down the field is your secondary concern; players are the first.

For successful one-on-ones:

  1. Create positive energy.
  2. Eliminate distractions. We all have a tendency to waste energy by getting off target.
  3. Demonstrate your belief. You must believe in people to influence them in positive ways.
  4. Release passion.
  5. Focus talent, otherwise good people may end up spread too thin.
  6. Strengthen respect. Don’t worry about people respecting you. Show respect to them.
  7. Move the ball down the field.

One-on-ones, when done well, energize organizations not because leaders are so wonderful, but because everyone wants to succeed and feel good about his or her role. These are opportunities to help others maximize their contribution.

Evaluate your leadership by how well you energize others.


Good people are hard on themselves. Compassion frees you to focus on another’s talent, passion, and contribution.

Conversations often turn toward negatives, even when you ask for positives.

  1. “What do you want,” is often met with what they don’t want.
  2. “What would you like to do,” often initiates conversations about things that didn’t work.
  3. “What are we successfully doing,” may be met with descriptions of what isn’t being done.

Allow people to explore what they don’t like. Don’t try to solve their problems. After they explain an issue, fuel energy by asking:

  1. What do you want?
  2. What can you do? (such as observable behaviors.)
  3. How might I help?
  4. What’s next?

The danger of problem-solving is it may distract leaders from what matters – maximizing people.

Final Tip: Successful one-on-ones are two-way conversations, not performance reviews or inquisitions.

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