“So how are things going…?” : Setting the agenda for an effective 1 on 1 Meeting

As a manager, having routine weekly/bi-weekly 1:1 meetings with each of your direct reports is essential for both project management and employee development. The effectiveness of these meetings is greatly improved if a defined agenda is available to guide the discussion and if the consequent decisions and agreements are captured and acted on reliably.

In these meetings you want to identify activities slipping behind deadlines, review commitments you have made to each other, discuss items you’ve been accumulating to talk about, and quickly review the project portfolio for red flags. With this housekeeping out of the way, you ideally have some time left over to discuss project opportunities and personal development.

ResultsManager dashboards provide a means to compile raw material for meetings from MindManager project maps. For example, the “Relationship Central” portion of the default “Daily Action” dashboards provides “waiting for”, “I owe”, and “Contact about” for each person you interact with.

Unfortunately this covers only a subset of what you want to review in a Best Practice GTD-focused meetings with your direct reports. For example, your direct reports are likely responsible for projects that haven’t been explicitly delegated by you in ResultsManager — you want to be aware of everything on their plate, particularly if things might be slipping. In addition, they may have “Contact About” items for you in project maps that need to be discussed. While you can work around this by generating daily action and review dashboards for your direct report, this becomes unwieldy to archive and is difficult to share.

In order to try to pull all the relevant information together in one place, a custom “One on One Meeting Dashboard” has been added to the site’s ResultsManager Dashboard Template Library. This dashboard template breaks out a meeting agenda as follows:

  1. Any Overdue activities for your direct report
  2. Committments (owned by each party)
  3. To be Discussed (“Contact About’s” for both of you)
  4. Mini-review for projects with no…
  5. Project Overview (could be augmented to include next actions)

Here is a snapshot of sample dashboard generated from the demo maps provided with ResultsManager:
sample one on one dashboard

Branches with no content for a particular meeting are automatically eliminated (the trick is to put a space in front of the main topic text). The resulting dashboard can be marked up during the meeting, with changes sent back to project maps and a copy saved for future reference if desired.

Configuring the Dashboard on your system:
Unfortunately there is not a dashboard keyword (e.g. %other%) for use in single generic 1:1 dashboard. The 1:1 dashboard template described above uses a placeholder (“NAMEHERE”) that must be replaced with the name of your direct report and then saved separately.


  1. Familiarize youself with the procedure for creating a ResultsManager dashboard template.
  2. Load the 1:1 dashboard template
  3. Choose “Edit”, “replace all”, choose “options” and check off “topic text” and “notes”.
  4. Enter NAMEHERE in search and enter your direct report name in “Replace With”. It will make 14 replacements.
  5. Click on File, Properties, and replace the NAMEHERE in the subject with your direct reports name
  6. Choose “File”, “Save As” and save the dashboard template into your “My Dashboards” directory with name of direct report in name to differentiate it.
  7. Choose “Tools”, “Install ResultsManager Template”, to install the template.
  8. Close the dashboard template
  9. Open the appropriate “Map Central”, and generate the dashboard.
  10. Mark it up in your meeting (sending status changes back to raw maps
  11. Save the marked up dashboard to an archive directory. Make sure to include a block symbol if you are going to link to it from maps that will be scanned in the future by ResultsManager.

[Note: See the more recent post on achieving the above using a GyroQ script]

Give it a try and provide ideas and suggestions in comments below or at info@activityowner.com.


  1. Trevor said,

    October 9, 2006 @ 12:04 pm

    Do you think this would work in 1 on 1 meetings with our managers? I.e. can this dashboard still be effective if the directionality of the relationship is reversed?

  2. ActivityOwner said,

    October 9, 2006 @ 12:48 pm

    Yes –just replace the string %me% in the template with your manager’s name and replace NAMEHERE with your name as the direct report. You could leave the template on a server in that form for either of you to generate a dashboard from, or for automatic regeneration by a server using GyrAactivator.


  3. Trevor said,

    October 9, 2006 @ 1:25 pm

    Ah if I were so lucky that my work had adopted both MindManager and ResultsManager. People still look at me strangely sometimes when I show them a mindmap (though others really like it)

    Thanks, I’ll use this to keep track of my meetings with my boss and my boss’s boss.

  4. Helen said,

    October 13, 2006 @ 1:10 pm

    This is great. I have made some changes because I don’t have the formal delegation via maps that you obviously have, but it has prompted me to look more carefully at delegation and partners. One small point, if I want to delegate and contact a partner about the same task (using e.g. John;@Fred ), the tasks appear appear as appropriate in your dashboard, but don’t appear as contacts on the daily Actions. Not critical unless it means I’ve done something wrong.

    (PS I’m the same Helen who originally contacted you on this – now using home email address)

  5. ActivityOwner said,

    October 13, 2006 @ 5:46 pm

    From a ResultsManager point of view (John, @Fred) is an action item for John to contact Fred. It should show up in your daily action relationship central as a “waiting for” from John. There is no action for you to do to show up in your activities. Is that what you are trying to capture?

  6. Helen said,

    November 26, 2006 @ 4:37 pm

    Yes, I want to delegate the task to John, but also talk about it with Fred

  7. ActivityOwner said,

    November 27, 2006 @ 7:43 am

    To delegate a task to John, but also talk about it with Fred, I think you want to (and need to) break it up into separate tasks for each step. For example, that would allow you to mark complete “talk to Fred about X” even if John hasn’t completed X.

  8. Dale said,

    March 19, 2007 @ 8:34 pm

    From the description above:
    “For example, your direct reports are likely responsible for projects that haven’t been explicitly delegated by you in ResultsManager”

    How do the those items which have not been explicitly delegated appear in the dashboard? I don’t understand how projects which have not been delegated in ResultsManager will show up in the dashboard?

  9. ActivityOwner said,

    March 19, 2007 @ 8:49 pm

    Hi Dale — That’s a good question. What I mean is that if you set the ownership of a project in RM as “Dale, your-employee”, the projects will show up in on your project list, but if the project is separate from your project map and doesn’t have your name in the ownership, it will only show up on his or her dashboard.

    This dashboard gets around this by configuring itself as a hybrid of your two dashboards. The Project-List branch filters using the NAMEHERE name instead of %me%, so it give you the employee’s project list.

    After using the approach described above for awhile, I found it was a pain to keep customized dashboards for each direct report up to date with my latest improvements to template, so I switched to generating it with GyroQ. See:


    The GyroQ approach enables you to quickly generate dashboards for several direct reports, for you and your boss, as well as for other manager/employee pairs and avoid search/replace hassles.

    The overall template has improved quite a bit based on experience with it. This is probably my favorite and most used custom dashboard.

  10. ActivityOwner said,

    March 21, 2007 @ 7:53 am

    Note that the GyroQ script for generating the dashboards had a small typo for the last week or so, so if you gave it a try and it didn’t work, have another go at it.

  11. Dale said,

    March 27, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

    So, my employee needs to be an RM user as well right?


  12. ActivityOwner said,

    March 27, 2007 @ 5:31 pm

    Ideally the employee is using ResultsManager, but you can get buy if they just use MindManager and format their projects, etc. with icons/markup that RM recognizes.

    You can also just use the approach locally as a framework to track commitments and enumerate projects in your group, but that is less effective than a shared system.

  13. Dale said,

    March 27, 2007 @ 5:53 pm

    Thanks, my employees are not yet using MindManager or ResultsManager, so I’m going to do some thinking of how to keep their projects list in my Maps so I can use a 1:1 dashboard. Right now all of my work and projects are in MindManager and RM, but my 1:1 agenda items are still in outlook tasks.


  14. ActivityOwner said,

    March 27, 2007 @ 7:39 pm

    If you set up a map for each employee and use the MindReader “q” command you can quickly accumulate items for each employee that will feed into the 1:1 dashboard. e.g. if your employee’s name is Dale

    waiting for Dale to complete report
    Talk to Dale about mindreader next week
    I owe Dale feedback on 1st draft by tomorrow!

    These will accumulate into the in-tray of map you have associated with the “Dale” keyword. You can drag longer lived items to the left side of the map as projects to monitor.

    Note that you can use the “Put it in front of the door” script approach to generate dashboards for individual employees and put them on a server to view with free viewer or activeX viewer.

  15. Dale said,

    March 28, 2007 @ 11:44 pm

    Aha! That just may work. I created a map for one of my reports, added a link to it in mindreader.mmap and map central.mmap, queued up a task, and it showed up correctly in the direct report’s map. This is great! Thanks.

  16. Generating a 1:1 meeting dashboard template with GyroQ » ActivityOwner.Com said,

    July 8, 2007 @ 7:02 am

    […] post last month described an approach for setting the agenda for a weekly 1:1 meeting using ResultsManager. The meeting agenda template, available in the Dashboard Library, attempts to […]

  17. Putting Things in Context » ActivityOwner.Com said,

    July 8, 2007 @ 10:04 am

    […] I have found having “Contact about/owe/owed” lists at hand to be useful in both formal 1:1 meetings and chance […]

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