One of the things that we regularly do at my current gig is to have 1:1 discussions with everyone in the team. In all my gigs, almost everyone has always said that they really find great value from them. However, at my current gig there was something missing, a group 1:1. Now to be clear, I haven't tried this out and this is just some of the ideas that I have, but I do want to try this on my next gig and see what works & doesn't work.
During the 1:1 sessions with each of the team members I found myself regularly repeating the same thing with different people in the team. I would often catch myself saying *"That's funny, I just spoke to X about that same thing"*. As we are rolling off this gig, one of the team members suggested a team retro for the 1:1 sessions to get some feedback and see what went well and what could need improving. When they mentioned that it struck me that we should have had these team discussions a lot earlier on in the process.
When To Run Them?
At the moment, I would suggest introducing these group discussions after a few weeks of having your individual 1:1s. The reason is for this is that whether you are joining a new team, or the entire team is new, people need to settle down and get into the groove. Also, from my experience on that gig, most of these similar discussions started to happen a few months into the process.
The other reason that I suggest running them later is because of psychological safety. In the initial few 1:1 sessions, most people are guarded and have those walls up so they don't express their true thoughts. Like I mentioned in the blog post above, psychological safety is hard and takes time to break down those barriers. Once people start to open up and express themselves in the 1:1's it is then a good point to introduce the group discussions.
If people can't speak honestly and openly in a 1:1, there is no way they will speak honestly and openly in a group
There are a few benefits that come to mind in having the 1:1 sessions:
- You avoid becoming the middle man in discussions, which saves you time in having to relay information
- You save time by not having similar conversations with each person
- Increases psychological safety within the team, so that they will be more open to giving their opinions in all group meetings
Like I said, I haven' tried this out before, but I really do think that there would be some great benefits for he team. I'm going to give this a shot on my next gig, so I'll see how it works.
Until next time...keep learning!