April 19, 2023

The Perfect 1-1 Framework 2.0

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
Get the proven strategies your boss or HR don't want you to know that are proven to work (even with budget cuts, restructuring, and if you've been told "no")
Download now

This week I’m bringing back one of my post popular episodes with an update of the impact this framework has had now that it has been available for over a year! I hear time and time again from individual contributors and managers alike: My 1-1 is not a good use of time (if they are happening at all).

Get ready to feel empowered to have the 1-1s you want with this episode. Instead of only talking about project work, deadlines or chit-chatting about nothing that is actually important. Or having things you actually need to talk about but there doesn’t seem to be time or you don’t know how to bring it up. Or maybe you want to make sure these meetings are engaging for your team but they always seem to fall flat. You get frustrated. They get frustrated. But that ends now. On today’s podcast, I am sharing with you my perfect 1-1 framework as well as how to get your hands on the updated guide that goes with this episode. I’m telling you exactly, what the agenda should look like for your 1-1s.

What you’ll learn:

  • An upcoming opportunity to attend a workshop with Melissa where she will walk you step by step into the foundation of knowing what to do
  • How you can know what career decisions to make with Melissa’s new training
  • An invitation to attend the workshop at no cost

Work with Melissa:

Rate, Review, and Subscribe to Apple Podcasts

If you are loving the podcast, please consider rating and reviewing my podcast! This helps me support more people — just like you — to get happier in their career and their life by making the show more visible.

Click here, scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with stars, and then select “Write a Review.” Let me know what you loved most about the episode!

Also, if you aren’t already, be sure to subscribe to the podcast. If you’re not subscribed you can miss out on any bonus episodes! Subscribe now!


Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast with me, Melissa Lawrence. I’m a career and life coach with all the corporate credit and talent development and organizational psychology. I help women like you get extraordinary results by being more you. Not less.

I won’t just help you have a career experience worthy of you, but I will help you build your self worth to shift what you think is possible and take the action that will create the career you’ve always wanted. Whether it’s more meaningful work you’re passionate about, making more money, getting to your next level, or being more effective as a leader, we are shattering the glass ceiling here. The one that exists for women at work and the one we put on ourselves with our doubt and inner critic. Each week you will get practical teachings grounded in neuroscience and effective.

Career development strategies.

You’ll experience deep mindset shifts and the perfect amount of rule so you can run your career with ease rather than your career running you. You were born for more and I’m going to help you get there with maybe a few dance parties along the way. Your up level begins now.

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast.

You are in for a treat today.

In the first year of the podcast, I did an episode on how to run your one on one meetings.

My guidance from this episode was based on my expertise in leadership development and organizational psychology, as well as the experience that I had working in the industry.

I thought it would be really fun to bring this episode back up with a few updates about the impact that this episode has had.

Plus, some of you haven’t been listening since the very beginning and you may not have listened to this one yet. I wanted to bring it to your attention because it’s not only one of the most downloaded episodes, so even if you have listened to it, you may want to revisit it again. But in celebration of my updated beautiful new website, I have revamped and brought back the one on one framework that you can get your hands on. So let’s talk about what this is. In the original episode, I share my guidance on three different one on ones that I believe that you should hold with your direct report. There is the initial one on one when you first start working together, your regular one on one that you have at consistent interval, and then a quarterly one on one to proactively assess employee engagement. Using this framework has caused huge increases in employee engagement and culture surveys.

With improvements in leadership communication, inclusion, and the employee’s motivation to stay with the company. And if you’re not a manager, don’t worry because I share in this episode how to manage up and get your manager to start using this framework. So since the episode went live, I have had clients use the framework with success, both with their teams and in getting their management to use it with them. I have had people reach out to me on LinkedIn or social media that I didn’t even know to thank me for creating it and told me how much it helped them feel confident in running their one on ones and the positive feedback that their teams have shared with them because they started integrating this. It is honestly something that I shouldn’t just have on my podcast or that you can download for no cost, but this is just how I roll.

Today we are bringing the episode back and I have updated the one on one framework guide and made it available on my website for download again. I literally have had.

People reach out to me to ask for this guide when I took it down from my website. Because on the podcast, I will occasionally have a download or a resource you can get access to. A few weeks ago, it was a playlist. But as new things are created and time goes on, I change up my website and the resource can be gone, temporarily or forever. So when this one was gone, people were emailing me asking me to get it. And that usually happens because someone either listened to the old podcast episode from a while back, or maybe they were looking through my old social media posts of mine, and then they go to grab it and realize it’s not there. But today that is not a problem because the download is available for you right now. So listen to this episode and glean the wisdom to know how to run your one on one meetings, exactly what to say, what to do, and learn the framework. Then head to yourworthy career.com to get your copy of the framework so you can start using it with your team or with your boss right away.

Let’s dig in.

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. Now, I get asked a lot from both managers and individual contributors, what should a good one on one look like? How frequently should we be meeting? What should we be talking about? Managers want the time to be useful and beneficial to both parties, but how do you actually do that? Employees want to help their managers make the time beneficial when they don’t have a structure, so how can you manage up to make sure that your time is actually value add? Today I’m going to break down my perfect one on one framework. Now, this framework is tried and true. It is a fusion of a process and system that I saw great success with in my corporate days where we saw substantial increases in employee engagement and improved relationships between management and the employee, and also some of the best practices that I have seen be used with great success. I am going to break down the agenda for you. I am going to tell you how to approach this with your boss, too. So if you’re an individual contributor listening, or maybe you’re a manager yourself, but you want to use this with your boss, I’m going to tell you how to do that as well.

First, I want to celebrate one of my clients, Patty. I have been coaching her for six months, and she has had so many wins and shifts. She is happier, excited about life again, and excelling in her career. She’s also made some really important decisions in her life. She’s in a leadership role for a large pharmaceutical company, and here is what she has to say about coaching with me. I have a clear path to what I want next. I have learned a lot about myself, and Melissa helped me make an important decision. I’m looking at challenges, thoughts, and feelings differently. The best part was challenging my thoughts and decisions and helping me understand the why. If you haven’t tried coaching with Melissa, try it. Having someone who is objective and doesn’t have any predisposed ideas of who you are is like opening a window and letting in the fresh air along with fresh ideas. Thank you so much, Patty. I am so excited for your future. And if you are listening and wondering if coaching with me is right for you, I encourage you to schedule a call with me. You can go right to my website.

The link is in the show notes and we will discuss your goals, what has been a struggle for you, and I will create a custom plan for you to move forward. We can decide if we’re a good fit to work together. It’s so simple and worth every minute of time. Just imagine what you could create for yourself when you’re not feeling stuck anymore. You can actually see a path forward that you’re excited about. Now, let’s get into today’s topic of the perfect one on one framework. First, let me just say that your one on one is for you. Seems obvious but is often forgotten. Sometimes it seems like it’s for your boss to tell you things or get information from you, and that definitely has its place. But this meeting is really for you to get what you need. A mistake I see is employees letting their boss dictate the meeting and then stay silent when their needs are not met. I totally get why you would do this. This is your boss after all. It is their job to structure this meeting for you. And you may not want to step on their toes or come off as too assertive, but there is a better way.

The framework I like and recommend is really three parts. There’s your first one on one that you ever have together, your regular weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly one on ones, and then your quarterly check ins. And I’m going to start with your regularly occurring one on ones because this is the foundation framework that I suggest for every one on one that you have. Number one is to address any outstanding action items from the last meeting. Get those cleared up. First things first. Number two, and this one is the most important, align on the objectives with you as the employee getting first say in what you need from your boss or from that time you have together. Think about the decisions that you want to be made, what information you need, the things that you want to tell your boss. You define those objectives in the very beginning because what often happens is you go in, your boss might start talking about something else, or you might start leading into project work. You may go in, have something you want to ask or something you want to say, but then next thing you know, your meeting time is up and you never got to say what you needed to.

So that’s why right away after you close out actions, I want you to align on the objectives that you want from that meeting. Get that buy in from your boss. The third piece is your needs are discussed first. Anything you need is first, not your boss’s opinions or thoughts or their desire to know where you are on a certain project. Your needs are discussed first. Next, number 4 is your boss’s needs are discussed. Then number 5 is you check in on your development. Note, you always have the chance to make development as a higher priority by mentioning it in the first item. So in that first section where you’re aligning on the objectives, you can use that time to say that you want to check in on your development if it’s something that’s really critical or important and you want to make sure it gets discussed in that time that you have together. So I’m going to repeat that again for you. Number one, action items from last meeting. Number two, align on the objectives with you as the employee getting first say in what you need. Number three, your needs are discussed. Number four, your boss’s needs are discussed.

Number five, check in on development. That is simple, right? But without this framework, you end up just talking about project work, or your boss shows you a YouTube the videos of cats. And no joke, that has actually happened. And you leave frustrated and thinking that this time was just a waste. If it is your first one on one, then I would suggest adding some additional topics like how frequently you’ll meet, the duration, standing agenda items, preferred ways of communicating between meetings. Does your boss like Skype and instant messenger? Do they like in person communication? Do they want to call you? Do you want to call them? Is email a good way to communicate? Establish all of that in that first meeting and any communication styles or preferences that you want to recognize. So if you’ve taken different assessments or tools, if you just know the way that you like to receive information, share that in that initial meeting and it will save so many headaches in the long run. So when you end up in the situation where your boss is not recognizing you in a way that is meaningful or you’re getting frustrated because you’re not getting information timely or when you need it, all of that can be prevented by having these conversations early on.

And that way you stay more engaged. A lot of reasons that people leave their positions is because they’re not getting what they need from their boss and because that relationship is so fractured. And a lot of that can be improved or even prevented by just having these conversations and clearing up any misunderstandings around preferred ways of communication and getting information. It really can happen like that. So talk to your boss about these things early. So if your boss likes to lead with facts and you like to process information before a decision, you know this about each other. It will help you build a stronger foundation from the start. So first, one on one is the foundation. It’s the expectations, getting to know each other and getting those one on ones scheduled at a regular interval. Then you meet regularly using the framework that I mentioned in the beginning, the five steps. Now, quarterly, if you’re a manager, I want you to start doing this. And if you’re not, I want you to bring this to your boss to see if you can start implementing this. Quarterly, I want you to have a check in with your boss where you discuss some topics more in depth and document them quarter to quarter.

The topics to discuss are number one, your career growth and opportunities. Are you seeing a future with the company? Are you growing and developing at a rate that you like? Number two, your work life balance. Do you have the work life balance that you want? Number three, communication. Are you getting what you need? Do you understand the company goals? Does the team communicate well? Does your boss communicate well? Number four, culture. Do you feel like you belong? Do you see the company adhering to the values? Do you feel valued and respected? Is there micromanaging or toxic behavior going on? Is there bias that you’re seeing? Number five, work quality and quantity. Do you have enough work? Do you have too much work? Is what you’re doing using your skills? Are you challenged enough? These topics are proven to increase engagement, decrease turnover, and positively impact the employee manager relationship. Now, these can be measured in a variety of ways. When you’re having this conversation each quarter, you could use a red, amber, green scale to assess each of these areas. Red is there’s a problem that needs immediate resolution. Amber is things aren’t great and we need some change.

And green is everything is all good. You could also use a number scale, and you could rate each of those categories on a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 and see how those numbers are changing over time. When you track this information over time with your manager in your one on ones, you can see if issues are occurring at certain times of the year with certain teams or management structures. It’s also a really objective way to proactively review your engagement, overall employee engagement, and not just to rely on that one or two time a year survey that goes out to all employees, which can often be impossible to pinpoint where and what the real problems are. When I created a system for using this process in my corporate days, like I said, we ended up using it across multiple reporting structures and sites because it increased engagement and reduced turnover so much. This allows you to proactively manage your engagement and your career. You know that I am all about that. Okay, so you have my simple framework for one on ones. There’s the initial one on one where you get to know each other and establish ways of working and expectations.

There are the regular one on ones where you follow the simple five step framework. Then your quarterly one on ones where you use the same five step framework, but you also do an employee engagement review, assessing those categories that I mentioned. Good. Now, I have something special for you as my podcast listeners because this episode was a lot to take in. You might have been thinking, I need to listen to this again when I can take notes or go to my website and get the transcript. So I put together a guide that has the perfect one on one framework outlined with the agenda items for your first regular and quarterly one on one. So it’s all laid out for you. You can download it directly through the link in the show notes. Now you may be thinking, okay, so I have this framework now and I can get the guide. So I have the agenda topics. How do I get my boss to use this? This is where I want you to practice managing up a bit. Knowing what you do about your boss, how do you think you could approach this with them? I’m giving you the topics.

Maybe you are just transparent and you say, Hey, I heard of this great one on one framework on a podcast and I’d like to hear your thoughts on it. Then share what parts or all the parts that you want to try and see what they have to say. If your one on ones don’t have agendas at all, you could just follow the one on one framework without telling them and try to guide the conversation following the steps that I provided and to see how that works. So there’s a lot of different ways that you can approach this, but I really want you to think about, you know your boss, you know the framework and the agenda or frequency if you’re even having one on ones of the one on ones that you are having. I want you to take that information, take the guide that I’m providing you that you can download in the show notes from this episode or just the notes that you’re taking from listening to this and think about how you can influence your boss to integrate even just some of these points that I talked about. So maybe you have regular one on ones and you think that your agenda is going fine and you’re getting what you need, but you really like this idea of the quarterly check in.

So that’s something that you can just bring up with your boss and ask them what they would think about trying it out. Most bosses are going to be okay with at least trying it. You don’t have to ask for that permanent change. And once they try it and can see for themselves the value that it brings, then that is going to be something that’s just going to become a standard for you. So give it a try and let me know how it goes. I would love to hear what you apply from this episode, or if you have any questions and need more help, you’re always welcome to ask. All right, that is all for this week’s episode. I hope you have an amazing week. I have something.

Special for you. Episode is over, but that doesn’t mean your development ends here. If you enjoy the podcast episode today, head to my website at yourworthycareer.com and check out additional free resources you can get access to right now. From joining my free VIP insiders to downloadable resources and trainings, you won’t want to miss it. Head there now.

Share this Episode

+ show Comments


Top Posts

Organizational Psychologist
Career & Life Coach
Fierce Advocate
No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

Free Guide!

*Downloading the freebie will subscribe you to our email list, You may unsubscribe at any time, though doing so means we cannot contact you or provide you with more free resources, trainings, and tips.

4 strategies including when to use each one and a deep dive on putting it into action

bonus tips proven to work to get you more interviews and dream job offers

career advancement strategies specifically proven for women in pharma/biotech

Get the 4 hidden strategies you can use right now to advance your career as a woman in Pharma/Biotech. These are industry specific strategies that work even with budget cuts, restructuring, or if your boss already said "no" to your request.

4 Hidden Ways (shhh)
to Advance Your Career

- Margaret

"Wow. I wish someone had told me these strategies were an option earlier in my career."

    Group coaching

    beyond the ceiling

    Private coaching

    1-1 Coaching

    tune in

    Listen to the podcast