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Submitted by smuench on


What quality goals have people used for improving the one on ones they hold with their directs?

I was promoted into a new position a little over 4 months ago. My directs are all managers themselves, some of them used to report to me in my old role and others used to report elsewhere. I took the opportunity of starting O3s with my directs to 'refresh' my existing O3s.

I have been using the O3 quantity goal that MT suggests, 80% each week (and then month) scheduled and held for 30m. I hit just over 90% for January. I feel like I'm good on quantity now (though I'll keep tracking it for a while -- probably until I have my directs roll out O3s). I am thinking that now is time to set some quality goals. I brainstormed a few ideas, but haven't fallen in love with any yet:

  • % of O3s that I prep for 10 minutes beforehand
  • % of O3s that last more than 30 minutes (occasionally I've had some that seemed to drag on)
  • % where I ask one of the questions at the bottom of the MT O3 form (Alternatively, one of the questions in Ben Horowitz's suggestions at
  • % where we talk about the future (my directs tend to take 20-25 minutes, so I usually have to rush even to get my few minutes, let alone talk about the future)

At the moment I'm leaning towards the first: 10 minutes prep before each O3. But I'd like to hear what other people might have used in the past, either for themselves or those they've coached on rolling out O3s.

I also checked the MT Trinity Rollout Emails, but didn't see anything on O3 goals.

Also, for a bit more context, after about 3.5 months I rolled out the MT feedback model, right now I'm trying to increase the quantity of positive feedback I give each day using the MT poker chip method.


mattpalmer's picture

It depends, to some degree, what you're trying to get out of your O3s.  Since I'm sticking with the simple stuff, I only care about whether the relationship is being built.  I always feel like I'm getting good O3s when the conversation feels natural the whole way through.  When the conversation stalls and we end up staring at each other awkwardly for 3 seconds (that feels like a week) until one of us serves a new topic into play, I figure that's not doing so well for the relationship.  So, count the awkward pauses!

smuench's picture
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I found a Manager Tools cast recently that answered this exact question way back in 2006!

In short, ask monthly "Overall, how are you doing?" in your O3s, and then measure the responses quarterly. Of course, lots more details are in the podcast.