I've just started O3s, and found that a common thing for the directs to bring up are shortcomings in our process, that is, things that slow them down or concern them. This is good. These issues should be addressed.

However, I'm not sure what to do with this. I'm reluctant to turn all of these into tasks or projects for the direct. I don't want them to become fearful of bringing up new issues because they know they'll be the one tasked with solving them. No good deed goes unpunished...

I'm also not sure I should be taking these all on myself - surely the O3 can't just be a source of new TODO items for me.

Any advice out there on how to approach this?

Thanks, Mike

TomW's picture
Training Badge

[quote="mbest00"]I'm also not sure I should be taking these all on myself - surely the O3 can't just be a source of new TODO items for me.[/quote]

You're right. They are primarily a place to build relationships. They also might be a place where you find out that actions need to be taken either by you or the direct.

If you're the right person to do the task or your direct is, it does not matter where it came up.

How would you like process changes be made in your organization?

mbest00's picture

[quote]How would you like process changes be made in your organization[/quote]

Luckily, most of the process changes we discuss are within the realm of our control. We can change these as we see fit. Of course, the change will still require effort.

I guess my main concern was that if everyone time a direct brought up an issue, I turned around and made it their responsibility, they would stop bringing them up. But what I'm hearing is that whoever is best suited should take the task. That might be the direct. It might be me. It might be someone else on the team. And in the end, I shouldn't worry that this will be a disincentive to the directs. The end benefit of the change should outweigh the pain of making the change.


rgbiv99's picture

If my directs come to me with problems, I expect them to offer solutions as well. I also expect them to be part of the solution, if not the entire solution. There is actually a section for this on our review form, "Problem Solving," and I evaluate whether they come to the table with solutions or just complaints.

This statement does not resonate with me:

"I don't want them to become fearful of bringing up new issues because they know they'll be the one tasked with solving them."

I try to create a culture where my directs crave more work and more projects. If they're going to complain about something then they need to be part of the solution (am I just overly inspired by Obama today or what? haha).

But seriously, if someone says, "I think X is really inefficient," my response is, "Thanks! I appreciate the feedback. What do you think we should do about it?" I *HOPE* that they have thought through an answer and that the answer includes action on their part.

US101's picture
Licensee Badge

You might want to check out this book for your directs: QBQ - The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and Life.



lazerus's picture

If your DRs and you have the authority to correct process problems, you have to do it. What is GREAT is that they are telling you about it. Ask them if they have suggestions for the solution. They may expect YOU to come up with the answer, perhaps because "that's the way it's always been", perhaps because in most work culture, the manager is the person who solves the problems, whatever. It doesn't matter how it used to be done. Delegate the solution to your directs. Coach them on problem solving, if you aren't already.
Everybody wins! The process improves, you look good because your DRs are accomplishing more in less time (MEASURE: make a benchmark for these processes, implement the solution, measure results, do a STOP/START/CONTINUE analysis), the DRs are happier because their job is not only easier but you expect more frm them and they get to grow.

dhkramer's picture

As a manager, my job is to make sure my directs are effective.

Best way to find out how they can do their jobs better is to ask them.

If you don't come out of a round of O3s with some tasks, you probably need to ask more questions.

juliahhavener's picture
Licensee Badge

Interesting - I have similar discussions with my DR's, with a very different result.

In many cases, they see a 'process deficiency' in something because they can't see the other side of the business impact. We could 'improve' our process with some rather disastrous overall results. Those are the areas where I work with the DR to show them the actual impact of the change - I have them review and research in most cases. If they don't 'find' where the disaster would occur, we review it (much like what is suggested above) until they factor in ALL impacts. This comes from us working in a rather segmented environment.

As a result, my team has found some outstanding solutions to issues that pre-date their existance. We have built very strong relationships with other departments because their needs are understood. My team members have built credibility with those departments to the degree that we can often accomplish things that other people cannot.

Now these same team members get together to discuss the issues they see, combine their ideas, look beyond our own borders, reach out for solutions, and have some very different input than they did at the beginning.