Reflect 1:1 Framework

3 minute read

I've previously posted about the importance of reflection and baking it into your practice as a professional. 

Here's some more detail on the framework I use for conducting 1:1's and some templates that you can try out yourself.

What is a Reflect 1:1?

Typically I'll have 1:1's with my direct reports each week, which they drive and own the agenda for. But once a month, we follow a more structured approach where we go through the same questions. We call that a 'Reflect 1:1'.

The main purpose of this is the carve out intentional time to reflect on what's happened the previous month. It's easy to forget how much happens in a short space of time. 

It's not intended to be a rigid session, often these chats can be quite deep and the questions are broad enough that it allows for real conversation. The consistency just helps look back over time and see what's changing.

The templates

I'm going to talk through the details. But if you just want to just jump straight to the templates and try this out (it's not that complicated), here you go:


How it works

These sessions usually last about 45 minutes. No pre-work required. The manager leads the asking of the questions and does any typing, the other person can focus on the 'reflecting'. This is important - to truly 'reflect' you shouldn't be typing.

Section 1: Reflect

Time to just think back on the past month and all the things that you worked on and the key moments that happened. This can be heaps of detail or very little - it depends on the person. Call out any big releases, big wins or talk about the things that got in your way this month.

Section 2: Reframe

These questions I mix around a bit. It's mostly about gratitude. The session's content doesn't get shared but it's a good prompt to think about who you might like to thank directly afterward. Or if you use a feedback collection tool, a prompt to submit some feedback. 

As a product design manager, I like to ask designers to think what they might do if they were in their product manager's shoes-their key partner. That might change depending on what role you're in, or who your key stakeholders are.

Section 3: Measure

Measuring things. You can measure performance, but I feel like talking about performance in this context can remove the focus away from what it really should be.

A few things I've found success with are 'energy' and 'customer contact'. This works for designers, but again might differ for your role. You can really measure whatever you want - it's useful after a period of time to see how this has changed through the months and see patterns. This is a great idea I got from Make Time.

Section 4: Reset

This is the chance to make any specific goals for the next month. Usually I ask team members to commit to one thing they're going to do. But again, it's flexible. It's also a reminder to check in on any personal development plan and make sure that I am providing all the support that's required.

I find that some of the best conversations I ever have with people I'm working with are these Reflect 1:1's. Having run with this for a few years and gradually iterated on this framework, it's something I keep changing at new companies, facing new challenges and working with new people. 

Having a structured time to think about work is a useful tool for connecting with my team and helping them build discipline and grow.

A big shoutout to Nick Bligh who inspired me with his 'tight 1:1' framework when we worked together at MYOB.