How should the the M-T trinity and the rest of the M-T philosophy be tailored to summer interns who are only with the company for 2-3 months?


Practical lessons learned stories welcomed!



donm's picture
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Yes. The point of the O3's, feedback, and delegation is to improve the outcome. It will work, even in the short term.

Example: Intern does a good report with a few minor errors. "Hey, can I give you some feedback?...(yes)... That was a very good report. When you put in the extra effort to make sure it's on time and complete, it makes it easy for us to organize that task more easily. Thanks."

How is that time-limited? Same with delegation. The O3 is a bit less clear cut, but there is no reason why you should not spend 30 minutes per week talking with any direct whether you call it an O3 or not.

pucciot's picture
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I can see the question when it comes to FeedBack.
For only a 2-3 months the manager may not have a chance to get to negative feedback.  Because MT recommends you wait several months.
That being said, O3's and some short term Coaching can be started right away.
The whole point of Internships is so that the intern can see how things are done, and get some experience in the real working environment.
Why would you cheat them from the great MT way of doing things ?
Show them what a good MT manager does and how they do it.
That's what they came for.

naraa's picture
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I have had a number of interns and I have always given quite a bit of feedback for them both on what they were doing right and on what they were doing wrong, from day one, very straightforward feedback.  The purpose of internship is for them to learn, they are very eager to learn, and I think they always appreciate it, although it was not always easy.  Some could take it easily and would in fact seek that feedback, some not as easily, for those I would reassure to them, that if I was correcting them it meant I care about their learning, that the day I stopped giving them feedback they should worry, because it meant I stopped caring!  A number of them actually continued working part time with us through the school semester and some were hired.  

Although people are different, I tried to relate to when I was an intern and the lessons I have learned early on that have helped me and that I think will help them too.  

I can share a story:  I once had an intern I asked to plot the data in a certain format, he came back with something else.  I told him I needed to see the data in the format I had asked for, and we could argue about it, and perhaps even change it to his way, but first to understand the data I needed to see the data in the format I had asked for, so I gave him the feedback that next time only come back to talk to me with what I have asked for.  

When I was an intern I remember preparing a presentation to the manager (the boss of my boss).  The manager would review it and ask me  add a number of additional slides.  We would then go through a second revision and he would ask me to remove the slides he had asked me to add in the first place!  I learned that his time was a lot more valuable than mine, and if he needed to see them, just to remove them, I was there to do just that!  It was a lesson I never forgot.  And a very important lesson, specially to a high D!

donm's picture
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"For only a 2-3 months the manager may not have a chance to get to negative feedback."

Actually, negative feedback is not the way to go. People inherently want to do the right thing. If you give positive feedback telling them they are doing the right thing, then they'll try to keep doing it because you've given them positive reinforcement. The way the statement above was worded, it almost sounds like giving negative feedback is a goal, rather than a burdensome reality, which is how I view it.

I have been doing a variation* of the MT feedback for about two years, and I've kept to the 10:1 (maybe 20:1) positive:negative ratio they suggest. Sugar still beats vinegar. I wish I could NEVER "get to negative feedback." Usually, when I show someone how to do something that they're not doing correctly, I don't follow the feedback model to do it. I show them the right way while saying, "This is they way it should be done, (and why)" rather than saying, "You're doing it wrong."

*Re: The variation from the MT form:  My question is "Can I talk to you for a minute?" and not "Can I give you some feedback?" In almost all cases, I try to find what is being done correctly and reinforce that, and not find what is being done incorrectly to fault it and fix it.

naraa's picture
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Donm, if you are showing your folks how it should be done, and that is different from the way they are doing it, they are getting the message that what they are doing is wrong, regardless if you say it or not.  

This strategy reminded me of something I used to do to sugar coat negative input before I became familiar to manager tools.  I used to use the "say a good thing first before you say something negative".  Until the day a direct of mine, after I had complimented him on something he had done right asked me: "And….?" Waiting for the correction to come (see, it doesn´t even matter if you change But to And! People pick it up after a while!).  He had not appreciated the positive at all, because he was focussed on the negative to come.  I tried hard not to use that strategy again.   One of the best thing I ever learned as a manager was:  "if you can make something 5% better, but by doing so you take 50% of the credit away, don´t say anything".  So I got to the 10:1 ratio just by letting go of the 5% possible improvements!   I tried hard not to give corrections to behaviours that deserved a positive feedback, and a positive feedback only.  But when they did do something that deserved a negative feedback, I told them straight forward, not necessarily that they had done something wrong, but that was not what was expected of their behaviour or results.

Negative feedback doesn´t need to have a negative connotation, it doesn´t need to be felt as a bad thing.  The best people I have worked with, more than wanting to do the right thing and getting recognition for it, wanted to learn and be better.



dan west's picture
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I agree with what's been highlighted above, regarding positive feedback. One way I think about interns is that internships are a way of grooming the next wave of talent your company will eventually hire. If you agree with the assumption that these will eventually be employees, then taking the long view and investing in the relationship first makes sense.  

Establish the relationship with 1:1s and positive feedback in the MT model. This will be your secret weapon when you are recruiting for full time new hires in the future. My experience is that interns talk and I've been able to hire interns from other teams based on my reputation. 

Note that no one is saying you can't correct errors the intern makes. But don't use the feedback model for the corrections.

I hope it works out for you!

teaguek122's picture

I agree with the above statements. It is even more important to start the manager tools process with interns
and I believe it is also helpful to bring the interns in on one-on-ones with other employees where you know
the topic will be entirely positive or extremely technical, just so the intern knows what is expected from other positions
within the company. I had this, and it was extremely helpful in deciding where and for whom I would want to work.
Also, you need to be sure to teach interns as well, like mini-lessons from school and personal advice.

Also, I wish I had had more manager tools managers when working previously in internships.

mfculbert's picture

For interns, start with o3s immediately. These are the most important meetings they will have had in their lives.

Use the podcast "Feedback Before It's Time" to understand how to do the same thing. In brief, skip step 1, use steps 2 & 3, downplay the 4th step but do include it. There is a lot more detail in the podcast.

I would skip, or minimize the coaching with an intern. I would, however, recommend that s/he listen to this podcast, or look at that book.

DO delegate as much as is reasonable in the structure.

Good luck.