Most people recognise the terms divorce attorney, conveyancer and criminal attorney, but only a few are aware of the growing need for a technology attorney. Worldwide, the evolution of technology has brought about a multitude of legal problems and South Africans are not immune to these.

Business continues to move online and in any conversation you’ll come across the words “data privacy”, “cyber-crime”, “online retailer”, “App development” and many more.

So what exactly does a technology attorney do?

Basically – anything to do with the law and technology. Here at SwiftTechLaw we specialise in the following areas:

GRC (GOVERNANCE, RISK AND COMPLIANCE) – which includes PRIVACY LAW COMPLIANCE (POPIA & GDPR). Information privacy is a hot topic at the moment as the Information Regulator creeps closer to being established. Once this happens South African organisations will need to comply or face hefty penalties. We assist our clients with their compliance, which includes providing them with all required documentation, training and website updates.

DOMAIN NAME RIGHTS AND DISPUTES – Having a company website / online store in this day and age is becoming vital to the success of any organisation and securing your domain name is the first step. We assist with any matters relating to domain name registrations and disputes.

APP DEVELOPMENTHave an idea for a new app? SwiftTechLaw can assist.

CRYPTOCURRENCY TRANSACTIONS – Crypto-currency investment remains the wild west of South Africa’s financial landscape. There is no cohesive regulation which restricts transactions or facilitates trade and this exposes investors to many risks. Organisations providing platforms for cryptocurrency transactions should also keep up to date with the latest regulations in order to minimise the risk for themselves and their investors. We assist by providing legal opinions and advise on how to minimise the risk of cryptocurrency transactions while the regulation thereof remains mostly unclear.


START-UP / INCUBATOR ASSISTANCE – We assist start-ups with non-disclosure agreements, non-compete agreements, registering different types of intellectual property (I.P), contractual terms of business for each specific start-up, website privacy policies, T&C’s and POPIA and GDPR Training.

TRADEMARK REGISTRATION Trademark registration is a crucial first step for your start-up in order to ensure that you are able to continuously build your brand. If you decide that you don’t want to register your trademark, or that will get around to it once your company has become more established, it’s important that you understand the possible implications of not investing in the protecting of your intellectual property. Let us assist you in building your brand by with our trademark registration services.

COMMERCIAL TECHNOLOGY LAW  need to register a new company? Need assistance in the drafting of End User Licence Agreements? Software Agreements? Or Tech Deal Structuring? SwiftTechLaw provides a wide variety of legal services relating to commercial technology law.

TECHNOLOGY AND CIVIL LITIGATION need to send a letter of demand? Don’t know what your options are in terms of legal recourse? We assist clients in settling or proceeding further with their legal disputes.



Follow us to keep up to date with the latest technology law news: 

Website: swiftmomentum.com/swift-tech-law

Fb: https://www.facebook.com/Swift-Tech-Law-703437963350634/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/swifttechlaw/?trk=ppro_cprof&originalSubdomain=za




Not Normal is the New Normal Video

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7 Things To Think About Before You Accept or Turn Down A Counteroffer

You sit down with your boss to tell her you’ve been offered a job elsewhere and that you’ll be leaving the company in a few weeks. It will probably be an awkward conversation—and it will become even more uncomfortable when she asks you to stay. She might offer you better incentives, like more money or a job promotion. But as enticing as the counteroffer may be, career experts say there are a few things you’ll need to think about before you accept.

Should I share details of the new job with my current employer?

Why did I start looking for a new job in the first place?

Will my job be on the line if I decide to stay?

How will I be treated if I accept the counteroffer and stay?

Do they really value me as an employee?

How can I turn down the job offer without burning bridges?

How can I turn down the counteroffer without burning bridges?

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How to respond to a counter offer


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10 Steps to Setting and Achieving Goals at Work

Make goal-setting an ongoing practice.

Setting goals at work is an interesting balancing act. On the one hand, your workplace goals must support the company mission. On the other hand, they must be your own. Otherwise, goal-setting is just a rote, check-the-box exercise.

An additional complication is that certain companies (and managers) are better at helping their employees set and achieve work goals than others. The good news is that even if you work for someone who approaches the annual goal-setting session as a necessary evil, there are things you can do to get some value out of it. If your manager genuinely understands the power of goal alignment and setting and achieving goals, you have a great opportunity to use the conversation as a starting point for career growth.

Here are 10 things to keep in mind before setting goals at work and filling out that goal sheet.

1. Get clarity on your team’s structure.

First things first – you must understand the functions and interrelationships of your team in order to set workplace goals that will make your team more productive and helpful to the rest of the organization. In a practical sense, every team serves as a supporting unit and a consumer of support at the same time. Get the mapping right, and you will be able to identify specific and measurable things you can do better to help processes and projects run smoother.

2. Talk to your boss. What can you do to make their job easier and make them look good?

No matter what your job description says, your job is really all about making your manager’s life easier. Think of it as an opportunity to be of service. Having a frank conversation about how you can support your boss will go a long way towards defining your workplace goals.

3. Focus on what you can control and have a plan for the rest.

For every workplace goal, there are factors you can control and factors that are out of your hands. Be clear on the distinction, and have a plan for what to do if the out-of-your-control factors don’t line up.

Imagine that you are a supervisor within an accounting department in a hospital. Let’s say you set a goal to shorten the month-end close timeline by 2 business days. Success will depend on the skill and collaboration of your accounting department (something you can contribute to and control), and on the ability of other departments to deliver critical data on time (something that is out of your control). It is smart to have a plan to coordinate the month-end close with other departments, remind them of the deadline and keep the communication lines open – but you must have a plan and an accountability agreement in the event they fail to deliver.

4. Think about your career path in the long run.

What is your ideal next professional role? What qualifications and skills do you need to qualify? Which success stories will make you a suitable and impressive candidate? Line up your personal goals for work in a way that allows you to gather those accomplishments and learn the skills.

5. Go beyond immediate tasks and think of the big picture.

Your growth as a professional is bigger than productivity and proficiency at your desk! Career progression often requires a broad scope of skills and experiences. Add professional seminars and other educational opportunities to your goal list, because continued learning is critical to your ability to expand your responsibilities and get promoted.

If you would like to move into a VP or a C-suite role in the future, consider looking at rotations in other departments. The knowledge of how different parts of the company fit together will prove useful and may set you apart from competing candidates.

Finally, if you see yourself growing into a management or client-facing role, Toastmasters is a fantastic way to sharpen your public speaking skills.

6. Get clarity on what goal achievement would look like.

You know the basics: a good workplace goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Go beyond those basics and visualize what goal achievement would look like. Would it make a particular project flow easier? Would it allow the team to work together more effectively? The image of a goal achieved will keep you motivated.

7. Schedule periodic check-ins.

The act of setting work goals is not limited to one conversation at the start of the performance period. Any plan must be flexible in order to retain its usefulness, and professional goals are no different. Sit down with your manager to talk about status and progress throughout the year. These conversations can be formal and regular (at the end of every quarter) or more ad-hoc. No matter which frequency you choose, the important thing is to keep the communication channel open, so that your goal plan can adapt to reflect today’s reality and priorities.

8. Ask for support if you need it.

Superstar performers in sports and at work don’t have to do it alone. Moreover, they know that they can achieve more and do it quicker with the help of a mentor or a coach. If you wanted to get better at golf, you would probably hire an instructor who would help you improve your swing. Your career is no different. Look for allies, both within your company and outside of it, and build a network of professionals who care about your success. Talk to them, ask for advice and listen carefully.

9. Do a periodic comparison of your annual goals with your to-do list.

Setting goals at work is great for mapping out big-picture targets and wins for the year. The unfortunate reality is that fire-drills and urgent reassignments can make it difficult to focus on the things that everyone had agreed were important. Continued professional education is a good example. Everyone knows it is valuable for your expertise and proficiency. It is also a requirement for retaining many professional certifications and licenses. However, continued education so often falls by the wayside because of client demands, deadlines and last-minute assignments. If you have ever had to cram a year’s worth of education credits in the last three weeks of the year, you are in good company.

So, do a periodic check of how well your daily to-do list aligns with your big-picture workplace goals. If the two have nothing to do with each other, talk to your manager and take action.

10. Track your accomplishments.

We have all been there – as you’re preparing for your annual evaluation (or revising your resume for your job search), you draw a complete blank on your past accomplishments. You know you have been busy, and your manager is generally happy with your work, but you cannot name a single specific success over the last year.

The lesson here is that it can be difficult to recall success details at the end of the performance period. After all, you have a full year of projects to think through! Save yourself the trouble and keep a running list of your wins (a simple Word or Excel document will do just fine). List everything from meeting regular deadlines to stepping in to help with an urgent research project, to completing successful client pitches and presentations.

In closing, remember that setting goals for work is best when it is an ongoing practice. Do yourself a favor and treat it as a conversation that never stops. Every time you get a new assignment, ask your manager to clarify expectations. What does he hope to accomplish through your work? Where does he anticipate difficulties? What is the timeline, and why is this project important? After the project is wrapped up, have a conversation to debrief and talk about what went well and what could have been done better. Many professionals are apprehensive of performance discussions, but the truth is that you can only get better if you know what skills and habits need more work. Keep the communication lines open, and you will set yourself up for more interesting work and a faster career progression in no time.



10 Ways to Sleep Better Tonight – with Lewis Howes


Why I Wake Up at 5 am (And Maybe You Should too)

Imagine this….it’s cold, raining, and pitch black outside.

Your alarm clock goes off…it’s 5 am and you are trying to wake up two hours earlier than you ever have in your life.

It’s day one of this new ritual….you’re pissed. You’re just not having it at this ungodly hour.

You think to yourself…I could get up and start my day or I could just go back to sleep.

You’re at a crossroads.

This is when the excuses come into your head while you’re laying there….

  • “I’m just not a morning person.”
  • “My bed is way too warm.”
  • “It’s cold and raining out.”
  • “I don’t even have clean gym clothes.”
  • “I’m way too busy today.”
  • “I guess I’m just  a night owl.”

And the excuses continue….

Guess what? They will continue to happen that way unless you get ahead of your excuses.

The truth is successful people wake up early.

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” – Jim Rohn

Benjamin Franklin, Howard Schultz, Grant Cardone, Barack Obama, Richard Branson, Dwayne the Rock” Johnson, and Tim Cook just to name a few.

Model your life based on the success of others.

The average US person wakes up between 6-730am. If you’re able to get up at 5 or 530am you will have 1-2 hours of uninterrupted time.

With a head start on the rest of the country you get to decide what you want to do with your time.

You get to take back your time.

The mornings are time for you to be selfish. Besides, self-improvement is a selfish activity!

We have been taught to think of selfishness as unhelpful but unless you take care of yourself you won’t be as good to others.

When you focusing on habits of self-improvement you will slowly become the best version of yourself…which in turn leads to being better for everyone else as well.

You simply can’t love and connect with others until you love and connect with yourself first.

Waking up early is a great time to be selfish for all the right reasons.

Benefits of the Dreaded 5 a.m. Hour

Are there really benefits to waking up early? Won’t you be tired and not be able to make it through the entire day?

This what I thought before I realized the power of waking up early.

Instead of “barely making it through the day” it had the opposite effect. I have more energy and drive than I ever did waking up at 7am.

You will find that by the time you arrive at work you are calmer, have more clarity and ready to take on any challenges the day presents.

1. Being Awake Early Allows you to Have a few Rare Moments of Solitude and Quiet Time

The best part of waking up at 5 am is the quiet time.

“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” – Albert Einstein

No one else is awake yet and you can have peaceful, quiet, and most importantly, uninterrupted time with your thoughts.

This makes the mornings a great time to focus on your goals or meditate to clear your mind before starting the day.

2. Rising Early Forces you to Plan Your Days Ahead of Time 

You need to have a reason to get up or your body will want to go back to sleep.

The chances of you getting up before the sun without a plan is slim to none.

Each night before I go to bed I know exactly what my morning routine will be the first hour of each morning. The main goal is to create consistent, positive habits that will put me in a place to succeed the rest of the day.

Eventually, I have made this habit a routine so that it’s automatic, I know exactly what I’m doing each morning.

Find something you love to do. This could be walking your dog, going on a light jog, reading, or meditating.

3. Waking Up at 5 a.m. Allows You to Journal Your Thoughts with Greater Clarity 

Daily journal writing is one the simple ways to create more discipline in your life.

As soon as I wake up I start writing in my journal.

Once you get up from sleep your conscious mind awakes, but don’t forget the subconscious mind never sleeps and has been brainstorming your problems all night long.

Before I go to bed each night I make sure to ask myself something I have not been able to figure out.

As soon as you wake up start writing about the problem you were facing and see what comes out. Don’t worry about legibility or sentence structure. Focus on writing until you can’t write anymore to find clarity and a solution to your problem.

4. Rising Early Allows you to Tackle the Hardest Tasks First 

The early mornings are the best time to take on the hard stuff.

Don’t waste your mornings on pointless tasks like clearing your inbox or organizing your desk.

“The fundamental level of success is doing the hard things first. If you go for the feared thing first then the rest of the day is easy.” ~Robert G Allen

This is time to focus on deep work. With no distractions or notifications, you can truly focus on the most important work you need to do.

This could be working on your toughest problem, developing a new habit or working on your biggest project.

I have used the mornings as a way to create the habit of journaling and repeating my daily affirmations. Previously I tried to do at night but constantly forgot or found myself inconsistent.

Getting a positive, efficient start to your day will build momentum and stay with you throughout the day. Even if you get sidetracked later in the day you achieved the most important and toughest work already.

5. You Can Start Your Day from a Centered State without Feeling Rushed 

How awful is it when you bash the snooze button only to wake up late…all of a sudden you have the “oh shit” moment. You quickly shower, grab a coffee and run off to work.

Feeling rushed is a horrible way to start your day. By getting up early you will feel less rushed and you give you time to be organized. It’s ok if you run late every once in awhile you’re human, but if you are constantly late it’s a habit. It’s one that isn’t effective or polite for family, friends, or your boss.

Sleeping in usually leads to rushed, frantic mornings where it will be easy to skip the gym or go to work unprepared.

6. Rising Early Allows you to Prioritize Exercise 

Morning exercise is beneficial for so many reasons but the main one is is simply getting it out of the way.

If you can workout in the morning you won’t be tempted between happy hour and the gym after a long day at the office.

It’ll be very hard to be a strong grounded man if you’re not making a habit of lifting weights, running, or whatever workout you prefer.

7. Waking Up at 5 a.m. Cultivates the Habit of Discipline 

“Discipline equals freedom.” – Jocko Willink

When you’re consistently getting up early you are creating a habit of discipline in your life.

Not only will you have more time in the morning this habit of discipline will spill into other areas of your life.

You will also build confidence in your own willpower. If you can get out of bed when its dark, rainy and cold you are proving to yourself you can do anything.

As Jim Rohn said, “Discipline is the bridge between goal and accomplishments.”

8. Waking Up Early Allows you to Accomplish More During Your Day

Simply put, waking up early gives you more hours in the day. Waking up early will give you the most productive and energetic part of your day back in your life.

“You have 24 hour hours in a day, you sleep six of them. Now you have 18 hours left.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Your mind and body are ready to function at peak levels, get some coffee or take a shower to activate everything.

Most of the time evenings are rarely the most productive for even night owls.

The majority of people spend their evenings mindless watching TV, scrolling through their feed and doing stuff around the house. Obviously, this is because we use the majority of our energy throughout the day.

By waking up early you will be structuring your day around the peaks of energy.

Your new wake up doesn’t have to be 5 am automatically, especially if you’re in the 730-8am range right now. By eliminating 2-3 hours of sleep overnight you are setting yourself up for failure.

You need to create this habit and be very intentional with your goal.

Here’s how…

How to Successfully Transition Into Waking Up at 5 a.m.

1. Create a Night Time Routine

Getting up earlier is all about creating a great plan.

If you are waking up at 7 am now and want to try 5 am tomorrow doing it cold turkey, without a plan will make it nearly impossible.

“He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” — Sir Winston Churchill

If you want to actually get up and get going in the 5am range you will have to start winding down earlier. Create a routine that you will adhere to every single night.

Waking up early is horrible at first and you will find a way to make plenty of excuses to sleep in. Minimize these negative thoughts by planning ahead.

  • Lay out your gym clothes or running shoes
  • Have a book or journal in a place where you see it instantly
  • Position your phone or alarm clock far enough away to where you have to actually get out of bed.
  • Have your coffee or energy supplement ready to go

2. Turn Off Your Electronics

Before bed try to avoid electronics for the last 30-60 minutes of the day. Every hour you are exposed to your phone you stop melatonin production which is key to getting sleep.

3. Visualize Your Success  

Studies have shown that when Olympic athletes visualize for one hour it’s equivalent to seven hours of physical practice.

As you begin to wind down before bed and put away electronics spend 5-10 minutes using various visualization techniques.

Some people will write out their visualizations while others will sit in a dark room and actually image their goals as being complete. Whatever method you choose the important part is that you visualize yourself already feeling your goals as accomplished.

If you’re not the most visual person find images of the car you want to buy, the house you want to own or the body you want to achieve. These images will be fresh in your head when you go to sleep and your brain will help find ways to achieve them while you sleep.

4. Focus on Your Breathing

If you’ve had a long day the last thing you want to do is go to bed mad, frustrated, or in a bad mood. Focus on your breathing patterns to change your physiology so you can go into bed relaxed instead of lying awake, thinking of your problems.

5. Express Gratitude

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” ~Zig Ziglar

As best selling author and KFM guest, Lewis Howes, talks frequently about the importance of gratitude before going to bed. He makes it a point to tell his girlfriend or someone in his life how much he appreciates three things before hitting the pillow.

Final Thoughts

“Each morning we are born again, what we do today is what matters most.” – Buddha

It’s empowering feeling to wake up before the rest of the world has hit the snooze button three times.

Waking up at 5 a.m. might be the worst idea ever only if you don’t have a plan for the early hours. You owe it to yourself to try waking up earlier, even if you’re not ready for 5 a.m. yet.

There is no need to wait until 2018 to create a resolution either. As you know, most resolutions fail.

Instead, make waking up early a ritual for December as you will inevitably eating and drinking more for the holidays. Stay ahead of the calories by waking up earlier and getting into the gym.

Yes, it will be dark and cold, but once you hear that alarm get out of bed and start making your life happen.

I promise it will be worth it. Form your “resolution” a month before everyone else and see how much your life changes.

by Michael Leonard

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9 Life Lessons – Tim Minchin UWA Address


Benefits of employee rewards and recognition

Employees respond to appreciation at work, especially when it’s expressed through recognition of their efforts because it confirms their work is valued. A simple thank you goes a long way and will not only make your employees feel good, but will actually benefit your business in the process. Here’s how:

6 benefits of Employee Recognition

1. Productivity

It’s well-known that engaged staff are significantly more productive, working efficiently and proactively in order to do a good job.  If efforts are likely to be praised and rewarded, then it makes sense that a member of staff will work harder to receive such employee recognition

2. Job satisfaction

Recognising an employee’s efforts demonstrates that the job they’re doing is valuable to the business. It sends the message that their hard work is worth rewarding and therefore must be important. This, in turn, makes the individual feel that they are making a difference.

3. Employee happiness

A happy and fulfilled employee can be motivated to perform better because of the positive feeling they have towards the company.  If an employer treats its staff with respect and gratitude, then those staff members will want to do a good job in return. This positivity can also be felt across the business, creating a happy working environment that people will want to be a part of.

4. Retention

A high staff turnover leads to poor morale that can make others want to look elsewhere. The time required to find and train new staff affects utilisation and the fiscal costs are high, so retaining staff has to be a priority. The provision of rewards gives employees a tangible reason to stay.

A happy and fulfilled employee can be motivated to perform better because of the positive feeling they have towards the company.

5. Loyalty

If your employees are engaged with your business, they will be able to promote and sell your brand far better than someone who does not believe in or care about it. Rewarding hard work generates loyalty and helps your team to feel an emotional bond with your organisation.

6. Team culture

Rewards that incorporate peer-to-peer recommendations are great for team spirit, as they encourage staff to see the positive attributes in one another. Teams are well-placed to do this, as they work alongside each other every day. Plus, allowing colleagues to nominate one another for rewards is empowering, as it demonstrates that they value each other’s opinion.

How should you provide rewards and recognition?

Employee recognition programme

The most efficient way to provide a staff incentives scheme is via a structured employee recognition programme, which is run on an online platform. This places all the information at both management and employees’ fingertips, allowing the entire business to easily engage with it. Employee Rewards are visible to staff to provide an added incentive to work hard. Performance metrics are also visible to the senior team, so that they can monitor progress and proactively recognise efforts at appropriate times. This kind of platform is straightforward and inexpensive to implement, while making it easy to reward your staff, so high performance does not get overlooked.

What should your employee rewards programme include?

To get your scheme up and running, there are five key areas that should be featured:

  • Peer-to-peer recognition – empower your staff to celebrate each other
  • Long-service awards – celebrate milestones to shout about loyal staff
  • Instant recognition – visible performance metrics to reward employees immediately, rather than delaying until a standardised time, like Christmas
  • Rewards –desirable wins, so staff will work hard to achieve them

It’s also important to tailor your scheme to your organisation, so it reflects your culture and brand. Run in the right way, an employee recognition scheme will have a huge impact on your business.

Original Article

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Master the One-on-One Meeting

Whether you’re a CEO or a line manager, your team is just as important as a group as its members are as individuals. Today’s tech companies offer many perks to attract and retain the best employees. We offer competitive salaries, training and the promise of success—professionally and financially. But how we treat them as individuals can determine the way their DNA will impact the fabric of your organization. What are you doing, as their manager, to make sure they are satisfied and making the best contribution to your organization?

I have managed over 100 direct reports over the course of my career. From the nerdiest, most introverted engineer to the highly extroverted sales executive. They’ve been on either side of up to 20 years senior or junior to me, varying genders and from as far away as India and China to as near as the office next door. No matter what their role, experience, proximity or personality, I have always made their one-on-ones (1:1’s) a priority. Why are 1:1’s so important?

  • Whether it’s an hour a week or 30 minutes once a month, making time for an individual says you give a damn about them as a person.
  • The 1:1 is the only forum where you can have an honest, private, conversation with each other about what’s really going on—professionally and personally.
  • This is a routine opportunity for you, as a manager, to assess the parts (your employees) that lead to the productive whole (your team)—which we all know is more powerful than the sum of said parts.
  • A leader who makes time for their team members—especially those who are also leaders—is less likely to suffer poor team performance because of ambiguity and mistrust. Each 1:1 is an opportunity to clarify the goals of the organization, your performance expectations and build a trusting relationship with your employees by getting to know them as people, not just workers.
  • Finally, constructive 1:1s throughout the year makes performance reviews a breeze. With routine 1:1s, review time can be more about goals and the year ahead instead of constructive feedback from the past.

Don’t just schedule these important meetings with your direct reports, be thoughtful about how these sessions play out. Below is the guidance I give to new managers on conducting 1:1’s.

Be thoughtful about how your one-on-one meetings sessions might play out.Source: Yuri_Arcurs

Set expectations
Whether your employee has worked for you for awhile and you’re just kicking off 1:1s, or they are a new hire and you’re rolling them into the fold, set expectations up front.

  • I am a big believer in being clear about behavior changes. If this is a new process you are putting in place at your company/in your team, be transparent about it. Otherwise, people worry something bad is going to happen (getting fired) if you all of sudden start scheduling 1:1s. Announce it at a team meeting/all-hands or send out an email/slack being clear about why these are important to do.
  • This meeting is for them as much as it is for you. Be clear that you do this with all employees who work directly for you. No one is being singled out.
  • Book a regular cadence of 1:1s. They should not be ad-hoc. It’s ok to skip one every once and awhile, but having it locked into the calendar is your commitment to being there for your employee.
  • Decide the best cadence with them (weekly or every other week? 30 minutes or an hour?) and what the format should be—your office or theirs, a walk, or maybe grabbing coffee. Different formats work for different employees and they can always be changed as you get into a groove. [see below on remote employees]. Just don’t do after work drinks—that suggests a less serious discussion.

The agenda
If a meeting is important enough to have, it should have an agenda.

  • Topics in a 1:1 should be about professional growth, personal connection and for giving each other feedback. Do not use the meeting to re-hash things from a group meeting or standup unless there are specific things you took off-line in that meeting or need to provide/get constructive feedback.
  • 24 hours or so before the meeting, email the employee a list of what you’d like to cover. Try to do a split between strategic, tactical and personal items and always ask your employee what they want to cover too. For efficiency, let them know if you need them to bring/read/do something before the meeting. For example:

    Jessica, for our 1:1 tomorrow, I’d like to cover the following:

      • Review a potential change to the product roadmap for next quarter and how that might impact your team. Please bring the latest roadmap with you.
      • Walk through the training presentation deck you are preparing for your new hires. Please send me your latest version tonight if you can?
      • Get feedback on whether the budget changes I made for you were helpful. Let me know if there are new numbers I should look at before we meet.
      • Hear about your vacation! Your pics looked awesome.

    Let me know what else you’d like to cover. Looking forward to catching up!

The 1:1 meeting
With an agenda set and materials pre-reviewed/in-hand, you are ready for a productive session.

  • Walk through the agenda. Ask if there’s anything else to add before you dig in. Always leave a door open—sometimes an employee is holding back on something.
  • If there are hard things to discuss (maybe some tough performance feedback), try to bookend it with two positive topics. That way, the close of the meeting doesn’t leave your employee feeling down. You’ve given them good feedback and some things to work on.
  • Do not monopolize the conversation. This is for you each to get time to talk. Pause often and make sure there is opportunity for discussion and questions.
  • Always end the meeting asking them how things are going overall and if there is anything else you can do to make them successful. Sounds awkward, but that’s your job! If your employees are a success, you are success.

After the meeting
It is important to always follow up any 1:1 (or scheduled meeting, for that matter) with notes on what was discussed, decisions made and, if relevant, any constructive feedback that will be measured going forward. Keep it short and sweet:

Jessica, good meeting today! From what we discussed:

    • Sounds like the roadmap change won’t slip the schedule much. Please share the new schedule on slack so the team can digest it before our Product group meeting.
    • Love the training deck! Let me know if you want to practice with me before you present next week. You’re going to crush it.
    • Sounds like those budget tweaks aren’t cutting it for your team’s needs. I’ll try to adjust next quarter, but right now you are going to have to work with what you have. Manage your spend carefully.
    • Thanks for letting me know you’re working on a personnel issue on your team. Let me know if I can help. Otherwise, keep me posted on how it plays out.

A recap ensures that you’re both on the same page and it serves as an audit trail if/when anything goes off the rails. Do this with ALL your employees. Otherwise, some may wonder why they’re getting follow up emails and others are not. Consistency in leadership is critical!

Remote employees and non-Directs

  • 1:1s with remote employees can be tricky. I recommend using video whenever possible and, if possible, 1-2 in-person 1:1s a year to maintain the personal connection. All other suggestions above apply for the remote employee.
  • It is perfectly OK to have 1:1s with junior people who do not work directly for you. Just remember, you are NOT their manager. Be clear about why you are requesting the meeting.

    Perhaps you are the CEO and want to have a 1:1 with a lead engineer to get a better understanding of a product challenge:

    • Make sure the engineer’s manager knows why you want to have the meeting.
    • Make sure the engineer understands you would like to get the detail directly vs. through other people. You are not going around their boss who knows you are requesting this meeting.
    • Be very careful about feedback. Always end such meetings with next steps being how you’ll follow up with the employee’s manager if there are any action items. Never undermine someone’s manager by giving specific direction without consulting with their manager. Especially if you are the CEO/CTO or other senior position. Often, the most simple “that sounds cool” can be heard as “do it!” from someone more senior than your boss.

Invest in your team
One-on-ones can make all the difference in how you lead. Your time invested in doing them right will pay off not only with each individual, but with how your organization functions as a team.

Have other tips on running successful 1:1s or good lessons learned from not having them? Please share in the comments.

Reprinted with permission from the author’s blog post, Mastering the 1:1.

Original Article – Harvard Business School