I discovered the podcasts a couple of months ago. Mark & Mike - Thank you for providing such a tremendously valuable service – can’t wait for the premium services! I’m a manager in a large public-sector service organization. This month I’m finishing a 9-month temporary assignment as a facility manager with 4 directs (3 managers and an admin) and 24 skips. Next month I’ll return to my previous position with 19 directs and no admin. I’ll manage 2 technical teams. Both teams are ‘virtual’ - 7 Sys Admin’s and 12 legal technicians. I’m committed to doing O3’s but I’m frankly worried that I’ll be spending a good part of 3 days each week on them. I saw Mark’s post about bi-weekly O3’s and I agree they aren’t nearly as effective. I’m not sure I’d gain much time by having 20 min meetings either. I’d be grateful for any advice.


chaser's picture

I have the exact same issue. In fact I have the exact same amount of direct reports. I took the group and separated them into some that I will meet with weekly and another that i will meet with bi-weekly. I can't tell you how it's going because in fact today is the first day I start, so I may have more to report in a couple of weeks.

The decision to put them into one or the other was based mostly upon my day to day interaction with them. Many of the team I speak with constantly so I moved these people to every two weeks. Other criteria was high potentials and/or new people I wanted to meet with weekly.

I might find that it is of such value that I move everyone to a weekly schedule.

douglase's picture

Hi guys, in my area I have 47 staff, with seven of them being direct reports and the other 40 are skips. My area is an operation IT help desk and between my team leaders and me we have found that we can't do weekly 1 on 1s. As such we are using fortnightly meetings. This works quite well. The main reason that it can work I feel is that we have fairly clearly outlined the roles, responsibilities, and expectations for each role int he business.

Once we got into the swing of the meetings, the meetings get shorter and easier. But we all still book out the hour for the meeting.


chaser's picture

I have been running the one on ones now for a few months and they have been going great. With the 19 direct reports it has made it difficult to do this but I have made the commitment to doing it every week. Some of the team I have moved to bi-weekly and for those on weekly schedules I hit 3 out of 4 per month.

I have found that most everyone likes the sessions and the times I have had to cancel them, the teams asks if they can re-schedule them instead, they really enjoy them.

What is most interesting is the difference it has made in the amount of information I am aware of in the organization and with my team's lives. The other managers are amazed often that I know all that I do about each of the team members. I know their wives names, kids activities, and even some information that they wouldn't share with anyone else. It has brought me closer to them than I can describe.

This is the best thing I have ever done, the team feel comfortable with me and it has helped them grow respect for me.


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge


19 is a lot of directs, and I could justify going to every other week. Choosing some to go weekly and some bi-weekly is also a good choice.

Douglas, I can't figure out why your schedule is a challenge. We NEVER do one on ones with SKIPS... those are for our directs to do. If you have 7 directs, that's easy... and they should have a reasonable number. You don't sit in on theirs, and you don't do any jointly...

What's the issue?


gakirag's picture

Hello Guys:

I am new to this forum, web page, and pod casts; I have to tell you that it is GREAT.

I just started working in the public sector managing about 12 directs. My concern is primarily what the other posts have explained. And the question was answer in the last post.

I have a few other questions on supervisors. There is a strong culture of power on directs inside the organization. Since I started almost two weeks ago, I am able to see people not doing much in the organization, and their supervisors, which are my direct, are not too interested in doing something for them. I know this may sound as I have other situations, but I really want to start the O3 sessions. My questions are:

1. In these circumstances, should I start O3 with all 12 and after a period of time delegates that job to direct?
2. Is it a good idea to start O3 with all supervisors weekly and with their direct bi-weekly? (to mitigate the time constrain)

Thanks for your support,

juliahhavener's picture
Licensee Badge

I think I'm a little confused. How many directs do you have? The total 12 or a smaller number of supervisors?

I would have O3s with YOUR directs. It's a great development opportunity. Let them get used to having them weekly with you and encourage them to do the same with their directs. Create urgency in your group and set specific goals for them to meet. O3s, coaching, feedback. It's a beautiful thing.

JoeFuture's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]Douglas, I can't figure out why your schedule is a challenge. We NEVER do one on ones with SKIPS... those are for our directs to do. [/quote]

Can you elaborate on why you don't do skip-level 1:1s? I've found them very useful when done about once every quarter. It gives employees a safe environment to give me candid feedback about their manager that I can use to help make them better managers. Plus, it shows them upper management is listening and cares about what they're doing.

What are the downsides?

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge


Classic case of miscommunication. My apologies.

Meetings that happen once a quarter are NOT one on ones, that's all.

If you've got the time, and are CERTAIN your directs are doing them, and you're also doing skip level meetings, knock yourself out.

CLASSIC! :wink: