One-On-One Meetings Are Important-Not Urgent

In 1994, Stephen Covey, along with A. Roger and Rebecca Merrill, introduced the four-quadrant importance and urgency matrix in their book First Things First.  In the book, Covey describes a framework for differentiating tasks that have long-term benefits (important-not urgent) from daily, less important tasks (important-urgent). Without a concerted focus, the important-not urgent tasks are often neglected until they become urgent-important.

Regular (weekly or biweekly) one-on-one meetings between leaders and their direct reports fall into the important-not urgent category but are often forsaken by leaders because they are too busy dealing with the important-urgent.  It’s in the one-on-one meetings that important-not urgent topics are discussed and dealt with before they become urgent.

During our leadership training sessions we ask leaders to raise their hand if they’d like weekly one-on-one meetings with their boss (or would have liked them when they had a boss).  Nearly everyone in the room raises their hand (who wouldn’t want regular non-pressured meetings with their boss?).  We then ask the leaders to lower their hand if they conduct these meetings for their direct reports. Sadly, most leaders do not lower their hand.  Why is it that direct reports are willing to invest in the important-not urgent but bosses are not?

Empower your leaders to conduct regular one-on-one meetings with their direct reports, and you’ll experience less important-urgent issues and more success.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Leadership, Performance Acceleration

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