Mark and Mike (and any interested Manager-Tools members),

I just wanted to tell you what a profoundly positive impact instituting O3's has had, not only on my effectiveness as a manager, but also on how satisfying my job is. Throughout my career, I've always worked hard to maintain good communication with my direct reports and I think I have been generally successful. Then I found your podcast. After listening for a while, I thought that O3's sounded like a good idea and maybe I would give 'em a shot. Even though my intial efforts have been anything but perfect, the impact on my relationship with the people that report to me has been nothing less than astounding.

Would it be unreasonable for me to [u]require[/u] that managers that work for me have weekly O3's with their reports? What's the best way to accomplish this?

Incidently, I've had no less success when I have used (somewhat clumsily at times) the feedback model. The first time I tried it, I was dumbfounded at how well the adjusting feedback I needed to give was received. And the desired change occured, without pushback, after I gave the feedback. The employee simply didn't see that negatives I pointed out in the "here's what happens..." step.

Thanks for the great podcast. The capitalist side of me wants to suggest that the information you're providing is too valuable to be given away (and, now that I'm hooked, I would gladly pay). The selfish (cheap) side suggests only that you "keep up the good work" :wink: .


Mark's picture
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Sorry this has taken so long.

Thank you for your kind words. A few notes like that each week from our thousands of users is a tonic for our souls.

I am thrilled that O3s have had an astounding impact on your relationships with your team. THAT is what they're intended to do. Your relationships with your team is the goodwill that allows everyone to stretch and grow, and it's what you draw from when asking for their best, and helping them grow and develop. Investing in relationships with subordinates is simply the best ROI activity in which a manager can engage. Well done you!

It would NOT be unreasonable for you to require your managers to conduct O3s. I am thrilled that you asked and have been waiting for this question for months.

OF COURSE it's okay!!!!!!! Man, the stuff we require of our managers. The forms, the time sheets, the pay reconciliations, the performance review documents, the mandatory announcements about policy changes. The story I like to tell is that we have standards for EVERY piece of raw material we use in our products. We X-Ray some stuff, for heaven's sake. We certify our suppliers. We refuse shipments. We double-check (less than we used to, but still a lot) end product.

And then we feel it would be too much to ask our managers to adhere to a few HUGE ROI behaviors? It's mind-boggling.

The best way to accomplish it is to ask for feedback from your team in the next staff meeting. Make it an agenda item. See what they tell you in public. Then, the next week, ask each of them for feedback on the One on Ones in your one on one with them. See what they say in private.

Then, at the next one on one, Give them each the development challenge of requiring them to do one on ones with their folks. Ask them to come back to the next one on one with a plan and questions, and the understanding that after that O3, you'll expect a report on how their first set have gone at the next one.

Yes, this will take a few weeks... but a few weeks have already gone by without them. This gives them a chance to start paying attention a little differently during their O3s with you, and to allow them to come to you with questions over a brief period. You'll be able to share their questions with others, to allow everyone to learn early.

It's a little slower, but it really unfolds nicely. And, no one will have a leg to stand on if after you require them, they're still not doing them. And then, you get to give them some feedback, and you're getting good at that too. ;-)

On your other note, we'll always have free podcasts. We're nice guys, and as long as we get a few kudos, we'll keep making our contribution to the practice of management.

And, we're capitalists too, and hopefully we can make that part of you happy as well. We just recognize the delicate trust you have put in us, and we're trying very hard to not do anything to harm that.

I assure you, our hearts are in the right place, but there are days when the sign on my wall is a little too true.

The sign says, "Avoid those annoying wake up calls. Don't sleep."

Again, my thanks for your kind note. We do this for you.


lefonquey1's picture

I just had my first round of one on one meetings this past week. My staff indicated that they found them to be very helpful and a very good idea.

Time will tell how well these will really work, but I suspect them to create a dramtic improvement in morale and communication.

Mark's picture
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Well done you! Glad you made the effort, and glad they went well in the eyes of your directs (and who else to measure but them??)

We vote for dramatic improvement... but keep us posted.


Finsz's picture

For the past 4 weeks I have been doing weekly O3's with the team members on my new team with great results. I started from the begining with this team so they just expect this as 'normal'.

We meet every Tuesday and my biggest problem has been keeping the time to 30 minutes. The guys have a lot they want to tell me so I've been letting them run long...45-60 minutes. I want to squeeze the time down to 30 minutes once we get into the routine a bit further but for now I'm letting them run. Is this a good idea?

My own boss does not initiate o3's with me so I have taken it upon myself to scheduled o3's with him on a monthly basis. I provide him a written agenda prior to the meeting (his style dictates having the paper in hand..another MT tip). The meetings have been great for me and he really likes them as well. The monthly meetings are scheduled for 60 minutes so perhaps he would be willing to do once every other week for 30 minutes provided we stick to the time limit.

Since I schedule the meetings a month in advance I always find his calendar wide open!! Fourth meeting set for next week...I'm already looking forward to it!

Mark's picture
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Well done! Glad the one on ones are working out, both with your team and with your boss.

Fascinating, isn't it - so many managers can't imagine that their folks want to know more, or that they could fill up a 30 minute weekly meeting. Tells you something about how we perceive our team members.

Thanks and congrats!


MikeK's picture

[quote="Finsz"]We meet every Tuesday and my biggest problem has been keeping the time to 30 minutes. The guys have a lot they want to tell me so I've been letting them run long...45-60 minutes. I want to squeeze the time down to 30 minutes once we get into the routine a bit further but for now I'm letting them run. Is this a good idea?[/quote]

Hey Finsz,

I started them almost 2 months ago now and I HAD to keep mine to 30 minutes because I booked all my O3s back to back. That has been a big help as I get my next direct knocking on the door right on time...

As a suggestion otherwise, tell your directs you want to stick to 1/2 an hour. And anything not covered you'll move to next week. Keep an eye on the time in your O3 and let your direct know when you only have 10 minutes, 5 minutes and 1 minute left just so you cover the important stuff first.

I found that we kept using the time and did not get to the last 10 minutes for career development the first 3-4 weeks and my directs started asking about that. I told them we will get to it once they've done there 10 minutes (or more sometimes) and then mine. Since this however, several of my directs in their 10 minutes have decided to bring up career development first and we use much of their 10 minutes on that sometimes. They love having the choice to use it and I told them I was happy to work on that first if that was their preference.

Hope that helps. The best thing is to tell them you want to stick to 30 minutes and really try to discuss the important things first. Once you get through those, then maybe finish with some minor areas if there is time.