One-on-One’s for Early-Stage Companies

As a Founder / CEO of an early-stage company, it is my responsibility to know what’s going on in the business. The best way of knowing that is to meet with your staff members, intentionally, every single week.

I don’t know of any other way to build an effective communication architecture and if you’re not meeting, regularly, with your team, then you are doing it wrong. I’m not even kidding.

There are a ton of different ways to do 1-on-1s and I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. And I’ve been trying different ways to do them ever since I was first given a managerial role.

I’ve learned a few things, especially in the context of super early-stage companies and I borrow heavily from Ben Horowitz:

via our open source handbook

My goal, process, and workflow:

  1. Create a safe environment for the employee to share, candidly, their thoughts on how things are going.
  2. The employee brings the “agenda” allowing them to define the space through a personalized workflow. They don’t need to prepare but they can if they’d like!
  3. Two questions that I ask: “How proud are you of your work this week?” And, very closely: “How proud are you of the company that we’re building?” These questions open up the floodgates. Trust me.
  4. The second question is at the end: “Table All The Things!” — Is there anything that needs to be said that hasn’t been said yet?
  5. Schedule it in. Weekly for direct reports, bi-weekly or monthly for larger organizations (connect with senior leaders). You must calendar it in and you must prioritize it. Don’t miss them. That communicates a lot more than you may realize.

Hope that helps! Let me know if it works for you!


Also, very fun Community Check-in today because… we’ve also announced a new #bookclub that starts next week, Monday. Hope you can join us! We’ll be chatting through The Mom Test.

Oh, and we got some revenue today. That was nice:

“D Zam” gave us a little fiat today!

What. What! $5.00 is… five dollars!