Sometimes, having a successful Quarterly Conversation™ means having difficult discussions. But you know what? Difficult discussions almost always facilitate growth, and they don’t have to keep you from having a fun, productive meeting.
The Quarterly Conversation is your chance to talk about what’s working, what’s not working and how to move forward. It’s an opportunity to empower your employees and improve your company in the process — and if that’s not a win, we don’t know what is. We’ve run a Quarterly Conversation or two (or three, or 100) through the Traction® Tools software in our day, and we like to think we’ve gotten pretty good at it. Stick with us, and we’ll walk you through our best tips on making your Quarterly Conversations productive, efficient and fun right in the software.
1. Ask attendees to prepare ahead of time
Quarterly Conversations are so useful — and we’ve found that thinking about what you want to say beforehand takes it to the next level. After all, nothing spells F-U-N like a structured, organized itinerary! (We’re only kind of joking.)
In our experience, Quarterly Conversations require some prep work. Access the People Tools in Traction Tools to assign your employees a QC ahead of your meeting. They’ll fill out a brief questionnaire with five sections:
- LMA™ assessment for their supervisor
- Core Values assessment (imported from the V/TO™)
- Roles assessment or GWC™ (imported from the Accountability Chart™)
- Rocks assessment (from the previous quarter)
- General comments on what’s working and what’s not working
Ask your employees to think thoughtfully about the specific Issues or Rocks they’d like to discuss ahead of time. Providing a tool that lives your employees space to conceptualize exactly what they want to talk about will save a ton of time down the road (and lead to a more productive conversation!)
2. Keep it casual — this is NOT a performance review
Put down that red pen, because there’s no space for bad marks in this meeting. In our experience, the best Quarterly Conversations are not assessments of whether your employee has passed or failed the quarter. Rather, they serve to open a safe dialogue around how direct reports are feeling in their role and what supervisors can do to support them.
Sometimes, employees have been struggling and need some guidance. Other times, employees are thriving, and they just want to talk about their goals.
3. Put your listening ears on
This can be the hardest part for a lot of managers — and “hearing” and “listening” aren’t the same thing.
This doesn’t mean, “Use your employee’s feedback to solve every single problem.” It just means…listen. You might not have any answers for them, and that’s okay. Remember, this is a conversation. Part of conversing is effectively listening before you respond. Now’s the time to exercise that muscle!
4. Use the People Analyzer™ tool in the software
Ah yes, the trusty People Analyzer. One of our favorite ways to identify whether someone is the right fit for their role without needing to make it weird. As one of our favorite EOS features in Traction Tools, the People Analyzer creates a dedicated space for both you and your employee to consider their role in the company. Needless to say, it’s a seriously awesome conversation starter.
Remember when we talked about your listening ears earlier? Keep ‘em on when going through the People Analyzer. Reflect on how your employee scored themself while filling out the questionnaire, and don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions. Give them space to take a deep dive into what they’re feeling and thinking, and make sure they know they can be honest with you about it.
5. Don’t expect to solve every single Issue
We’ve had some amazing results come from taking Issues from Quarterly Conversations and moving them to the appropriate Level 10 Meetings™ in Traction Tools. But we also know how tempting it can be to IDS™ right then and there. Remember, this is your employee’s time — not the company’s. You probably won’t solve every issue that comes up, but you can make sure your employee has access to the time (and the tools) to say what they need to say.
One of our favorite things about the Quarterly Conversation is that it’s a safe space for honesty. If the conversation moves in a difficult direction, roll with it! If you get into deep waters, throw a liferaft on your Issues list.
Quarterly Conversations in Traction Tools are meant to be discovery sessions, not “check things off the To-Do List” meetings. Be open to the natural flow of the conversation and see what you find!
Looking for an easy way to run your Quarterly Conversations? Start your 30-day free trial of Traction Tools today!