I have had the pleasure of having a couple first one-on-one conversations with the folks in our Bangalore office who work for me. They don’t work directly for me – they work for people who report to me. I fumbled around a little bit at first, and have now arrived at this formula for the conversation, that I think is working really well:
1. Appreciate them for taking the time to talk to me, and if I’ve heard good things about their work from others, appreciate that.
Reason: Always good to start every interaction with an appreciation. I believe this is one of the best parts of complementing someone’s new shirt, or their haircut, etc… I invite you to try this yourself – it will change your life.
2. Ask for their career history, and how they came to ILANTUS
Reason: You can’t help someone get where they want to go without knowing where they’ve been. And that’s part of the reason everyone should work – to achieve a goal.
3. “What do you like best about working here?”
Reason: Find out what motivates them, what creates satisfaction in their life.
4. “What do you like least?”
Reason: Whatever this is, it’s opportunity for growth and change – with either them, me, or the organization.
5. Tell me how you spend your time.
Reason: Gets you to know some of what it’s like to be in their shoes.
6. What are your worries and concerns?
Reason: Gives them an opportunity to express what’s on their mind that is not positive. What causes them to loose sleep?
7. What are your hopes and wishes?
Reason: Learn what they want. What I love about this question is most people realize this is a greater question than “what do you want out of your career?” When they ask me what kind of hopes and wishes, I say “If you have a hope and wish, and will share it with me, I want to know what it is.”
8. What can I do for you?
Reason: The best way to be able to serve your employees is to know what they want.
9. Any questions for me?
Usually, the questions have come up in the process, but this opens the door for anything else.
10. Thank you for your time.
I have found that 30 minutes per person is actually enough to accomplish all of this. It has opened the door and is a great way to start a working relationship – even if the person I’m talking to does not report directly to me, but is a couple levels removed in my organization.