What is it?
A Discovery one-on-one is an approach to prepare and drive effective meetings with people you are not familiar with.
Why use it?
Creating a relationship with people is key to being able to work with them effectively.
Prepare a board that will make the agenda for the meeting visible:
Take a piece of paper (Letter or A4 will work)
Draw two lines to create three columns on the same width
Write on three mini sticky notes the three headings to give the meeting structure:
- To Do
- In Progress
Write the topics that will be covered during the meeting, one topic per mini sticky notes:
- Ice Breaker
- Professional Background
- Experience of …
- 3 Wishes
The meeting starts with all the sticky notes in the “To Do” column (see the figure below).
Ice Breaker. The Ice Breaker is a game in which you take turns asking each other questions.
- Move the sticky note to “In Progress”.
- You only have three questions each, and each person has the right to pass. Here are three examples:
- If you could do anything in the entire world other than your current job, what would it be?
- What do you spend most of your spare time doing?
- What’s your favorite holiday destination?
- Once the Ice Breaker is Done, move the card to the “Done” column.
Professional background. You will now share your work history that led to your current role.
- Pick the next note in the “To Do” column and move it to “In Progress”.
- You will start first, so make sure to be prepared to cover all your professional background in the minimum time.
- The other person will go next, once she is done, encourage her to move the card to done.
Experience of …
- Depending on Alexis’ role, he has used notes on different topics. He used “Agile Experience” for a mission to drive a change toward agile approaches, “Management Experience” with a new manager, “Web Experience” while onboarding a new developer for a Web agency. Pick something that will be relevant to you in your context.
- Time for the 3 Wishes. You end with another game, asking a question: “If you could have three wishes for transforming your daily work and/or workplace, what would they be?” Once again, what the people say here will teach you a lot about the organization and their current mindset.
- The last note, with the three question marks, is a wild card to allow the other person to propose any additional topics to discuss. People will sometimes have nothing more to say, and sometimes they will suggest a topic that could be useful to cover in another meeting, not necessarily this one.
- Portia Tung proposed this one on one structure in her book The Dream Team Nightmare.
- The One-on-one experiment is the activity proposed in the Chapter 5 of Changing Your team From The Inside.
What do people say about it?
“I used it once again today, for the onboarding of a new collaborator who had just joined the team… I tell you only that after 40 minutes we were already like two best friends! Really powerful this workshop!”Mario Esposito