Hint: it takes a lot longer than a minute. That's what Ken Blanchard, author of the One Minute Manager series and other business books, and his wife, Marjorie Blanchard, have discovered at their 150-employee company. At Blanchard Training & Development Inc., in Escondido, Calif., each worker gets together with his or her manager once every two weeks for a one-on-one meeting of roughly half an hour. At that meeting the employee sets the agenda, so employees can count on having a time to be heard.

That, Marjorie Blanchard believes, makes it easier for them to adapt readily to change. "You build a communication infrastructure that I think helps people deal with their personal concerns about change and also get the information they need," she explains. However, Marjorie Blanchard notes that some managers at first resisted adding new meetings to their schedules. So the company tracks how often the one-on-one meetings occur, and one year even offered a bonus to those who held them as scheduled. "That probably took us over the final hump" of getting managers to adopt the system, she says.