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Align priorities on a weekly basis with 1:1s

Sometimes I feel like startups mirror the famous quote from Erasmus — "startups, can’t live with them, can’t live without them."  Why do I say this?  So much happens on a daily basis that keeping everyone synced up around your company’s initiatives is extremely important.  Hopefully, your objectives don’t change on a weekly basis.  If so, you have bigger problems.

One management tactic that is pretty tried and true for any company is to do weekly 1:1s with your key reports.  You might be asking yourself if this is silly when you are a small company.  I don’t think so.  If you are a one-person company then you should be doing this with yourself (which is still legal in most of the U.S.).  Big companies talk about setting SMART goals.  I think a nimbler way to goal
tracking is to list out your top 3-5 initiatives and track against your progress to your  quarterly goals every week.  Its a great way to avoid the temptation of doing too much at once or having your company not focused on the right priorities.  This is a sample 1:1 management-by-objective sheet that I have been using for years (sample: Download sample_mbo_format_v2.pdf
).  Have your employee fill it out every week before your meeting.  That gives you time to think about areas of improvement, tactic changes, etc.  More importantly, it also give you a chance to get feedback about yourself, new product ideas, etc. This exercise should be full of known expected priorities with completion dates and/or progress on your goals.  If not, then its a great way to get you and your team aligned.  I would recommend that you review completed items as well as areas that are ‘non-priority.’  Lots of startups have crazy paces but are even crazier when there are 10+ initiatives–no company can be successful doing too much. 


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