121s, Covey, and Priority Management

Time and Priority Management Quadrants - Covey

Another reason why 121s are so powerful dawned on me this morning.  And it relates to the Stephen Covey Priority and Time Management Quadrants shown above.

121s almost compel you to focus on quadrant 2 type activities.

Quadrant 1 stuff has to be done almost immediately- it can’t wait for a 121.  And who is going to continually bring quadrant 3 and 4 items into play with their manager?

So the existence of 121s more or less forces attention onto the important but not urgent quadrant which is the one where the greatest value tends to be created.

So pay attention to the content of your 121s and see what you can do to bring the focus onto quadrant 2.

Affirming Feedback and Praise

I meet a lot of managers who confuse praise with affirming feedback.

Affirming feedback is a tool used to:

  • make someone aware of a specific behaviour or action that they have taken,
  • understand specifically the positive nature of the impacts of that behaviour or action,
  • increase the chances of further examples of that behaviour or action in the future.

Affirming feedback is a powerful tool primarily for influencing future behaviour.

Praise on the other hand is about the past.  It is about ensuring that someone feels recognised and valued for something that they have done.  It is usually MUCH less specific than feedback and sometimes given with much less clear intent.  It is just as powerful as affirming feedback and effective praise should be encouraged.

However, praise is not without its risks.  If praise is:

  • ill timed
  • embarrassing
  • diluted or over-inflated
  • undeserved

It can certainly do more harm than good.  For more on the problems of praise read this post.