Make the Most of One-on-One Meetings

Since we published Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management, many managers have asked us how to really do effective one-on-ones. It may sound simple--just have a meeting. But in reality, having a great one-on-one meeting takes attention and structure. But that effort has a big pay-off: great one-on-ones build relationships and alert you to problems when those issues are small.

As consultants, we’ve seen managers spend too long in these meetings, or conduct them too often, or not conduct them well. This workshop will help you find your “Goldilocks” frequency and duration and will help you refine your one-on-ones.

We think of the one-on-one as a manager’s most accessible and valuable tool.

Who Are We?

We are Esther Derby and Johanna Rothman, authors of Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management. The book has been a bestseller and has helped countless people make the transition into management roles since we published it in 2005.

We have different and complementary management experiences. And, we both used the one-on-one meeting in similar ways when we managed people. When we were managers, we both experienced other managers not using the one-on-one to best effect.

Is this Course Right for You?

Do you serve people in some capacity? Would you like to learn a structured approach to creating great relationships with those people? If so, this workshop is for you. Even if you work with self-managed teams, one-on-ones help you stay connected with people and the system.

How Does the Course Work?

The course consists of videos, short posts, and reflection questions/homework. The course is structured as an introduction and two sections. The first section walks through a structure that we have both used for one-on-one meetings. The second section looks at creating an environment that is supportive for productive interactions.

The course starts from our description of one-on-ones in Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management., but contains insights, explanations, and stories that are not in the book. (The book covers many topics beyond one-on-ones, some of which may become on-line courses.)

Both of us are happy to offer one-on-one private coaching in addition to the course. Feel free to contact either Esther ([email protected]) or Johanna ([email protected]).

Your Instructor

Esther Derby & Johanna Rothman
Esther Derby & Johanna Rothman

About Esther

I draw on four decades of experience leading, observing, and living through organizational change. In 1997, I founded esther derby associates, inc. and work with a broad array of clients from Fortune 500 companies to start ups. My approach blends attention to humans and deep knowledge of complex adaptive systems.

In addition to consulting, I have an extensive background in designing and leading experiential learning. I teach workshops both on-line and in-person around the world. My workshops support leaders to explore how they can adapt the environment to amplify empowerment, engage in joint problem-solving, and evolve their systems towards better results.

I'm co-author of Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management and Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great. My latest book is 7 Rules for Positive Productive Change: Micro Shifts, Macro Results due out in August of 2019 (and available now for pre-order on Amazon.).

My website is

About Johanna

I'm known as the “Pragmatic Manager.” You, your team, and your organization are unique. Your risks and challenges are unique. You deserve to learn and use practical, pragmatic possibilities that fit your context.

I coach, consult, and offer workshops in all areas of product development. From how to hire effectively to project, program, and portfolio management, and product ownership.

I’ve published 14 books, including Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management. My most recent books are From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams (with Mark Kilby), Create Your Successful Agile Project, and Manage Your Project Portfolio, 2nd ed.

See my sites for my articles, books, and blogs. See to see how to live an agile life.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

This course is closed for enrollment.