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  • Kick Ass Zombie Hunter

How to Get More Out of 1:1 Conversations

Two people sitting at table having a conversation in an open location.

One on one conversations aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, they’re pretty awkward for most which is why it is one of our core modules in our leadership program. Our calendars are booked with back-to-back meetings and our workloads keep piling up, so when we get to having these one-on-one conversations (and in fact, some are skipping them – please, don’t toss the 1:1 meetings out the window first) we are flustered, unprepared and we’ve lost momentum and the true value of those meetings.

Taking the time to intentionally design our conversations helps us become a more mindful leader and helps us spend time building quality relationships. Using simple tools, we can transform how we lead, motivate, engage and inspire through the power of conversation.

Let’s keep the freestyling to the dance floor and be better prepared for conversations with our team. One tool we love is the Rose, Thorn, Bud model by author Neil Pasricha. The model has evolved over time but here’s the one we like, and we’ve provided you your own activity sheet to use.

A simple activity sheet can provide so much depth to a conversation. With this activity we are focusing in on the accomplishments – hurdles – opportunities.

First, we look at the positives (the rose) – no matter what kind of week you are having, there is always greatness to be uncovered. Retrain your brain to look for those roses. At first, you may (or may not) struggle to capture one rose and soon you’ll be actively looking for them.

Focus on asking yourself:

  1. What were you most proud of? How did you succeed? What did you really love this week?

Then we look at what isn’t so great (the thorn) – we don’t want to shy away from the hurdles, because these are opportunities to work on, learn from and get better with.

Here you may ask yourself things like:

  1. What caused me a lot of stress this week? What stopped me from feeling my best and doing my best? What do I maybe need to ask support for? What distracted me from performing at my best?

And finally, we end on looking ahead (the bud) – we want to end our conversation on a positive and reframe our thinking.

Ask yourself questions like:

  1. What are you so excited to work on next? What brings you life and energy at work? What opportunities do you want to explore for your joy at work? Where do you think you can make a real difference?

Let’s face it, “how’s it going” is not going to result in an earthshattering response.


A Team Human Conversation 

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation. 

  1. What is one thing you are proud of this team for?

  2. What is something that isn’t working well within our team that we should discuss?

  3. What is an opportunity for growth for our team?


Click here to download your reflection worksheet:

Download PDF • 67KB


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