I wonder if anyone has any ideas on how I can implement O3s in my group.

I work in a consultancy organisation and as a new manager I just did my first budget for my group (based on time, not cost). In the budget I was allowed (after some discussion) to have a total of [b]25 minutes per month per direct[/b] (I have 14 directs) of “manager time” i.e. time I get to spend on my staff (I still have sales goals and utilisation goals that I have to reach). Included in the 25 minutes are staff meetings, recruitment etc.

Does anyone have similar experiences and perhaps ideas on how to be an effective manager considering the time constraints or more generally how to be an effective manager in a consultancy organisation?

Do I need to add that during the yearly 360 the most common complaint is lack of feedback and management involvement?

Thanks in advance.

Kind regards, Rasmus

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Whoever gave you that guidance is surprisingly naive, or someone has interpreted some other information with too great an interest in micromanaging.

Ignore the guidance and do the One on Ones. The other path (conformity) will get you different results - ones you know don't work.


rasse73's picture


First some praise,

Mark and Mike, you guys are really amazing in the way you make yourself and your knowledge available to us all. Thank you.

Then, Mark

I'm sorry but I don't quite understand your answer (or, more likely, my question was unclear making it impossible for you to answer it). I have 25 minutes per direct and month, that is not a guidance, but a fact (if a budget can be a fact).

If I do proper one-on-one’s (considering the time it would take) I will get negative feedback and miss my bonus goals. What I will do is have monthly one-on-one’s (I know it won't be proper one-on-one's) and try to get the coaches (more senior staff giving careers advice to junior staff, sort of like a mentor) to take a more active role. Definitely unsatisfactory, but the best I can think of at the moment.


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Okay, so you've figured it out, and we disagree. That's cool.

Just don't call those monthly meetings one on ones...they're not going to have the same impact/result/feeling.



akinsgre's picture

I have to confess that both posts, Rasmus' and Mark's, confused me a little.

For Rasmus: You mean you're forbidden to spend more time with your directs, or your time is tracked so closely that you don't have the spare time to do it, or that your direct's time is monitored so closely that they don' t have time.

For Mark: I would think that ignoring my bosses "guidance" would be a bad career move? Surely there are some caveat's about what kind of "guidance" we should avoid, and what kinds we should follow unquestionably?

All that said, I think there is some room for flexibility, Rasmus. You might not be able to get attributable time for the O3s, but can you find "off the clock" time to spend with your directs? Can find other excuses to spend time with them? Like instead of calling them O3s, call them "Utilization Improvement Meetings"?

rasse73's picture

After my posts yesterday I thought about it some more and I'll do something like you suggest akinsgre. I'll try to find some free time but mayby not as structures as proper one-on-one's. And yes spending time on one-on-one's would impact how my directs are perceived by the rest of the organsiation.

jhack's picture

I assume this is a side effect of how your firm measures utilization. If you meet with them for two non-billable hours per month each, that drops their utilization (and yours) and your bonus suffers.

It seems to me you have four choices:

1. Meet with them anyway, don't book the time, and try to be a good manager.
2. Stick to the budget, but consider that perhaps you're managing schedules, not people.
3. Try to be a change agent. This is hard, but can be very rewarding if you figure out how. I can't provide any help here as the politics etc will be very specific to your firm. Is this just your new boss, or is it company culture? Is it a response to a tough quarter? Do you have a mentor elsewhere in the firm to talk to? etc
4. Find another firm that has appropriate processes for helping their people grow. In my experience, most successful professional services firms dedicate time to their people.

Good luck.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

We ALL ignore guidance from our bosses and from our companies all the time.

Anyone who would think that 25 minutes per month per direct is appropriate is just silly. If you want to adhere to that, fine...but don't think you're a manager. You're an administrator.

And the idea of budgeting time and getting approval for it sounds so over-the-top Taylor-ish as to be Orwellian.

I'd rework my budget and make more time for what I believe is more effective (they're not paying me spend my time, they're paying me to leverage my time into results).

If they told me no, I'd find a different job.

Management by straitjacket isn't management.