Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

Individual talks on a Team meeting - why it’s important to us


I mentioned recently that we’re currently on a Nozbe team reunion where our remotely working team gets together in the same place for an entire week. Today I’d like to share how each day looks like and why it starts with me… talking to people one-on-one. Well, here goes, we start each day with a breakfast at 8 am, and then…

Individual talks on a Team meeting - why it’s important to us

Personal time one on one

Before I explain what we do after breakfast, let me get back tot he subject of this post - the personal meetings with each and every one of the team. We’re 20+ person strong team now. We doubled our team size in a year. Yet, every time we meet for our reunion, people want to talk to me. And I want to talk to them. Folks want to have a one-on-one with the founder. They ask for it. And I want to give them my time. That’s why when we schedule our Nozbe Reunion I make it my priority to be able to have an uninterrupted one-on-one conversation with each and every one from the team. This is how we do it:

At 9 am our official meeting starts…

The team gathers at the conference room and they work in groups until lunch which is usually at 1 pm. This is time for them. To bond, to talk about stuff. To work together in the same physical place.

In the same time I do the one-on-one meetings. I try to dedicate between 45-60 minutes for each person. This means I can talk to 4-5 people between the breakfast and lunch.

I do this every day from Tuesday to Friday. It’s really exhausting but it’s also very rewarding. I love it. And I think my team members love it, too. Why? Because they ask for it on every reunion.

After lunch, we gather in the conference room and do presentations and brainstorming sessions… but I’ll write about them in a separate post.

How do I plan one-on-one meetings?

I set the schedule of each meeting and post it on our Slack channel and later in Nozbe. This way everyone knows who is supposed to talk to me and when.

On the first day I choose the newest team members. This way they get to know me right off the bat. This week there were 3 new people I haven’t seen in person yet. I met them on Monday. Until now we’ve seen each other on Skype only. That’s why I talk to them first.

Then I talk to the rest of the Nozbe team, usually I try to batch people from different departments. Like I talk to 3 support people in a row. Or 3 developers. Or designers. On Friday I finish up talking to my direct reports.

What do we talk about?

In a nutshell: we talk about life and work. We don’t talk about ongoing projects. We talk about relationships within our teams. About things they care about. About what bugs them, what they’d want me to improve. What they like and don’t like in their work. We talk about their needs, wants and passions. And sometimes even family situation. We’re like friends talking about things.

Although we only have less than an hour to talk, we get to connect on a very personal level. I get to hear what they usually wouldn’t tell me through Skype, Slack or Nozbe.

It’s really worth it. I get to know my company better. I get to know my people better. I get to show them I care. And I’m here for them.

And what’s really amazing is that very often thanks to these conversations we make important decisions for our company. We discover we need to change things we didn’t notice before. We find new ways to improve our work. We get the subtleties we wouldn’t catch otherwise.

Will I do these conversations on each reunion?

I hope I will be able to. We’re 20+ people now. We’ll be 30+ sometime next year. I’m not sure how much I want my team to grow but I want to keep my relationships with my team members as personal as possible. So I’ll try to keep it up. This is one of the things that really make me love my work

P.S. On the photo above we play football. We do it after lunch between presentations.

Question: Do you talk one-on-one with your boss?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 /individual-talks/