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Submitted by Tamara Byrne on


 I have directs who are internationally located, so our O3's are often scheduled after hours while they are at home. I sent out a recurring calendar notice so it is in their calendar, but I'm running into many instances of them not answering the phone because they forgot or they are traveling and didn't ask to reschedule, etc. The O3's are supposed to improve the relationship, so I am hesitant to say anything but "It's ok, next time please let me know before hand if we need to reschedule" Any suggestions? It's becoming very inconvenient for me to rearrange at the last minute.

mattpalmer's picture

If these meetings are out of hours for them, they're probably in-hours for you.  Nice for you, I'm sure, but your directs are probably somewhat aggrieved that they've got to spend their family time talking to their boss.  I'm reminded of the "O3s with shiftworkers" cast, where M&M talk about coming in early or leaving late in order to make sure you can meet with all your people during their shift.  I would rearrange your O3s to be at times convenient to your directs, even if that means that you're getting up early or going to be late.  It will make it an awful lot harder for them to blow them off.

Whether or not you change the scheduling, though, O3s *are* a business meeting, and you're perfectly within your rights to insist on an appropriate level of professionalism.  Once your direct has agreed to the scheduling of *anything*, they should endeavour to stick to that scheduling.  I'm assuming that your directs don't miss other meetings, so you could ask them to use whatever mechanisms allow them not to miss their other obligations to ensure they don't miss this one, either.  On the other hand, if they *are* missing other meetings, that's something you'll want to address in general, as a larger issue than missing your O3s.

jonno12131's picture

I work a lot across international so I know this is hard and does impact the work/life balance.

Unless you are on opposite sides of the world there should be some overlap in your business hours. If you really can't make that work then I'm inclined to agree with Matt in that you need to show flexibility by accommodating them. At the very least you could alternate, and as the manager I'd rather 'lead by example' and make the sacrifice myself. I'm pretty sure they will respect you more for it.

delete_account_per_reacher_145083_dtiller's picture
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I don't understand why the directs would be expected to do O3s during their off work hours.  I agree with above that there are almost always overlapping hours or perhaps you as the manager should change your hours on certain days to accomodate.  I have worked in a global organization and it is possible to make this work.  Seems straight forward to me.  Am I missing something?

Tamara Byrne's picture
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Thanks everyone for the input. When I first started O3s, I asked everyone what time is good for them. I offered to start at 7 AM my time which is the earliest I can do because I need to be up and ready for work by the time they start. This is 4 PM for them and many of them are picking up kids or traveling to other countries. They decided that after hours are more convenient and would have to be changed less often. One of them is scheduled for 10 PM my time which is 7 AM their time. Perhaps this is the problem and I should revisit it with the reasoning being too many are being missed.


delete_account_per_reacher_145083_dtiller's picture
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What you are saying is there is a 9 hour time difference and there is almost no overlap.  Can I ask how you the organization is structured so that you are their manager.  This seems to say that you are actually not available during their working time.  This must be very difficult for you and them to have an effective working relationship. 

GtX's picture
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I have one direct in Taiwan that I have a weekly O3 and a weekly project update with.  The time difference is 12 or 13 hours depending on DST.  We typically start the O3 at 8 AM EST, 8 PM Taiwan, then follow that with the weekly project update meeting that is joined by 3 more employees located in China.  The 3 are colleagues of my direct but report to another manager.  

I set up the meetings for 2013 on a quarter-by-quarter basis where Q1 and Q3 we would talk at my 8 AM and Q2 and Q4 at my 8 PM.  I was thinking, what several have commented, that it is unfair to expect them to give up part of their evening each week.  By the second meeting of Q2 3 of the 4 had asked me to shift the time back to 8 AM my time and make it a constant.  Their rational was that because they travel considerably in their territories a meeting at 8 AM or 9 AM their time is too restrictive.  So we switched them back and will go forward at 8 AM my time.  

In this case my attempt to accomidate them actually made it harder for them.  I never would have thought it and they didn't mention it when I proposed alternating by quarter.  It wasn't until the change was made that we all realized what time was really best overall.  

I attempt to offset this by scheduling non-routine and urgent meetings in my evenings / their mornings to avoid suddenly disrupting their family time.  

I agree with Matt that O3 are business meetings and the expectation should be that the direct treats them as such.  Have you given feedback on your directs behavior?  Your comment leads me to believe that you haven't.  "It's OK..." tells the direct the behavior is... well... OK.  You could give them new time slots to pick from and if their behavior continues you may have a bigger problem.   

David Timpe (DiSC: 7117)