Communication and Collaboration within a team and across teams is one of the key factor behind projects to succeed or fail. Hence verbal and written communication, cross-functional collaborations are always part of employee performance reviews. A good meeting where I participated with many other colleagues brainstorming and came out with some good decisions are one of the most precious joys in my profession. I must confess that in my more than two decades long career, such meetings have been infrequent. There are few problems I identified as happening more –
- We don’t talk about the same thing in meeting
- We talk about too many things in the meeting
- We come to the meeting unprepared and spend a lot of time just to give the context before getting to the main points
- We don’t come out with a shared understanding of the problems discussed in the meeting
I have noticed this lack of shared understanding is also present when you are having offline conversations, for example, slack threads (or Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts etc). I have been trying out a new format to increase the issue of shared understanding recently – we can call it one-pager or micro-doc. The idea is simple. Create a one page document that will have 3 major content in it – talking point, central figure and some notes. This you send ahead of time for a meeting, or post in slack to start a thread of discussions and you should see positive communications, collaborations and understanding of the key concepts.
Here is a template that I created that you can use to copy from – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TzK_XSNbBlGzLqNye09yum1_Pzlw8KI56ICrZAw96EA/
- Talking Point – Here you write down your topic or problem statement in one or two sentences. This should be a single topic and not multiple topics.
- In Focus – This should be a diagram or a table or a bulleted list. This is the major or central focus of the document. While I would usually prefer a diagram (a picture is worth a thousand words), its fine to have a table or a bulleted list of items here.
- Description – Any notes, discussions, comments or opinions around the central diagram or table or the list.
Above is a sample one-pager, Performance Review: Manager’s Perspective for your reference.