The Management Trinity - One on Ones

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I develop a relationship with my directs?
  • Why do I want to develop a relationship with my directs?
  • How do I know if I am successful at developing a relationship?

This cast begins our series on the Management Trinity, and our reasons for each of its three (four) components: One on Ones, Feedback, Coaching and Delegation.

We've talked about the Management Trinity for nearly three years, but we've never really laid out specifically how and why it works. The best managers we know use these basic principles all the time to make themselves, their teams, and their organizations more effective.

All of the behaviors and habits in the Management Trinity are simple to understand, relatively easy to do, and give exceptional returns on a manager's investment.

And that's why we recommend them.

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I've just been thinking that a new

I've just been thinking that a new introduction was due for those classic tasks.


sorry, "talks".

Mark and Mike, Great

Mark and Mike,

Great "reintroduction" to the trinity, and your specific focus on the aspect of trust in relationships tying into the quality and quantity thoughts. Also, thanks (!) for your commenst on the bridge exercises. The only good bridge exercise is the one rope bridge construction anyway! (An obscure military reference, so my apologies:)

I think focusing on the theory that

I think focusing on the theory that underpins the practice of management is useful. It is important to know why we should something so that we can explain/justify it to others and also so that we know when the standard practices aren't appropriate or need to be tweaked.

It might be useful for some managers to be able to explain to their managers why they are spending time on things like 03's.

Keep up the good work!

As always you guys are delivering the

As always you guys are delivering the information that counts. The review of theory is well timed for OOO's as most of your listeners must be in the thick of practicing what you preach.
While I do enjoy "actionable" casts, this theory review is an important part of learning how to be a good manager.



For me, knowing not only what to do,

For me, knowing not only what to do, but also why it should be done is more motivating. It lets me connect the dots and give me the insight I need not only to do, but also to understand.

In my view you could have gone more theoretical without any problems.


I think that this was a good break with

I think that this was a good break with tradition. Your no nonsense practical approach sets you apart from the bulk of management material and I wouldn't want you to change! However, supplementary casts to explain the theory behind the practice certainly helps the 'C' in me to fit it all together.



I agree that this was a great

I agree that this was a great departure. Being a manager in a small municipal government I don't have much hope of ever attending one of your seminars. It is nice to get a little over arching theory to go with the day to day application that I love your podcasts for.

The only thing I wish you would change is the frequency of your podcasts. Is seven a week too much? Please keep up the great casts! Love your work.

Seven a week is too much. To think if

Seven a week is too much. To think if you had asked for six we would have said yes!


Thanks for the kind words.


As for the trust fall, YES, I trust my

As for the trust fall, YES, I trust my manager and teammates to catch me in that (artificial) environment. They aren't evil. But, a trust fall doesn't help me trust them at work. You're right that good communication and predictable behavior are what we need in order to establish trust in a work setting.

Maybe instead of 6 or 7 a week, you can

Maybe instead of 6 or 7 a week, you can do 2 broadcasts a week. the second broadcast might be examples or expanding on the previous topic

GSoumakis- Easy enough! I'll just


Easy enough! I'll just go from 3 hours sleep a night to 90 minutes. ;-)

For now, one a week.


Just joking. don't worry. we

Just joking. don't worry. we definitely want you to be in great shape for the great podcasts.

I appreciate the departure and talking

I appreciate the departure and talking about the theory behind 1x1s. With a lot of these tools, I am often asked by my directs (and others), why they work or are necessary. For me, it is a bit difficult to articulate the reason...only that I know that they work. Having this will help me to do so.

3 hours of sleep a night!? I've been

3 hours of sleep a night!?

I've been listening to these two guys recently called Mark&Mike (different from Mike&Mark of course). They've got this web-site called Tools for Managers which has lots of helpful casts on scheduling and time management. You should check it out.

Despite whatever concerns you may have

Despite whatever concerns you may have had re: going too theoretical, I just wanted to let you know that I felt this podcast was great. As some of the others have said, I too appreciate your usual practical and action-oriented approach, but background/philosophy/theory (for me anyway) more fully informs practice and gives it richness and dimension. It also helps me know when and how to apply some of the more practical advice when things go "off the map." Thanks for the great work you do!

I have finally – after years of

I have finally – after years of listening to Manager Tools – conducted my first o3 – how slack is that? I got a bit freaked that I would not do it right, so I kept listening to the podcasts over and over again – there is so much to take on board. I rarely visit your actual website, so I only recently found the One-on-One tracking form. This is great, and gave me the confidence to just do it! I run a small business and have 3 casual working for me, who also work virtually (e.g. I rarely see them). I arranged an interview with the lady who has worked with me the longest, and told her what I was hoping to do, without scaring her to much. YES! It went really well. We covered a lot of ground. I knew I was going into the meeting with no ‘adjusting feedback’ which was a bit slack of me, but I had not conceptualised anything. Frankly I am just so excited that I can ask someone to do something, they do it, and I reap the rewards. I still have not worked out how to ask my 9 year old to do something, and get it done without a major drama – maybe I should try o3 with her too :) Back to the ‘adjusting issues’. The staff member actually raised some areas that were of concern, and proactively told me how she was going to resolve them, without me saying anything. Once she raised the issues, I remembered them, and was glad she recognised them, and was one step ahead of me. To end our meeting, she told me I was altruistic she thought she had the best job in the world, so I guess I can’t do better than that!!
I have just completed Quincy’s survey, voted for you at podcast alley and I have finally paid my dues, with the strength of the aussie dollar and one successful 03 and many more to come, I have paid up my annual subscription. Don’t go crazy and spend it all at once Mark & Mike!!
Many, many thanks,


PS Still waiting to hear about November in Sydney???

Rolling Out O3s


Thanks in advance for your comments.

I work in a matrix organization where I have lots of responsibilty for other people doing things, but no direct reports. The function is Technical Support, there are 4 world wide regions, each with a small Technical Support Staff. The staff report to a local sevice manager, but I am supposed to manage "World Wide Technical Support". Sometimes it works well, other times not so good.

We have had some recent reorganizations that resulted in staff meetings getting cancled, and caused a lot of  the "Confusion and Delay" as Sir Topham Hatt is always warning us about.

I'm now ready to jump back in the saddle and take charge again, and start implementing the changes that we need to move forward. Manager Tools will be an integral part of that.

1: I need to roll-out 03s, but I also need to start having weekly staff meetings again. Do I just continue to postpone the staff meetings until I've had a couple of rounds of 03s? [I think the answer is yes]

2: I've got a lot of people and time zones to cover. Can I start doing 03s slowly (one regional group at a time), or do you need to start them all at once? {I think the answer is all at once}

3: We have a world wide service meeting in 3 weeks, then I go on vacation for 3 weeks. Should I try to start now, or just continue to plan, and start when I get back? [I think the answer might be meet with people during the service meeting to and describe what we're going to do, but put off the changes until I get back in mid October].