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Submitted by maura on


Hi everybody - I've been listening and reading for a year or two now - first post in a while.  Thanks in large part to Manager Tools, my promotion from Team Lead to Manager was made official last week!  I'm fortunate to be leading a group of very high performers, and I have worked alongside each of them for at least a year (some up to 4 years). I presented the O3 concept to the team earlier this week, and just clicked Send on the rollout email, complete with timeslots.  No turning back now!

So - for those of you who have started O3's recently - what surprises did you encounter, that you weren't prepared for?


12string's picture
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 I was really surprised by one guy who holds all of his cards extremely close to his chest.  Getting any information is still like pulling teeth, but when we started, it was more like a root canal.  

Most of my DRs are pretty open, but the one guy surprised me.


dadicks's picture

I think the thing that surprised me the most was how fast the Same First Question concept delivered results.  I've just finished my third week of O3s with my directs and one of them changed their answer this week. 

First, she was surprised that I noticed (of course I had written them down), and then proceeded to tell me about something that was adding stress to her life.  As luck would have it, it was something I could help with. 

The experience gave me a boost of confidence that I was heading down the right path with my directs.  Thanks M & M!


namillercpa's picture
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I went into the O3's with the feeling that I really didn't want to do them (I am off the chart's high D and don't do the people thing well) but recognized that I did not have relationships, let alone good ones with my team.  That was about 10 months ago.  Within just a few weeks I was an absolute convert - I can't tell you what a difference it made.  My team is incredibly jealous of their time and literally will tease each other if one runs late into another's meeting.  But most importantly, I am starting to genuinely appreciate these people and it is helping me manage them better - in the way that works for them instead of demanding my way. My biggest breakthrough came this week when my most reticent team member shared some very personal information.  As Mark says, when they start talking about body fluids, you know that you are succeeding.

MPower's picture

It wasn't in my first week, but very early on I was challenged by one of my directs who is about 10 years older than me and a former manager.  A new product was launched and we tasked our sales team to sell it.  My direct challenged me saying "you guys keep saying we have to push this new product, blah blah blah.  Or what?".


I was taken aback.  I could tell for a few weeks that I hadn't earned his respect yet.  Once he said what he said, I took a moment to digest and began speaking calmly.  I simply stated "the devil is in the details" and explained to him that we have quotas to achieve; the ones that don't, won't continue working here.  I was firm and bold because I knew he was challenging me.  Had I tiptoed around it, I wouldn't have earned his respect.  Since that day, he has complete trust in me.  I'm happy it happened the way it did, because I was trying to find ways to earn his trust and respect previous to that incident.  Since he initiated it, I seized on the opportunity to prove that I'm not scared to have difficult conversations with my staff and that our company (and more specifically, our team) is one that won't tolerate complacency.  

heyjames's picture

I just got promoted to PM on a new team. Three weeks ago I started PM03s with one of my project workers. There was a bit of initial awkwardness, but they seem to be going fine.

Then I was in a meeting with my boss and a peer last week. My boss asked, "how do you think they're finding the new team?". That was a pivotal moment. You see, I knew the answer straight away, no need for second guessing. And I knew which aspects the person was finding particularly troublesome.

I'm pretty task-orientated. So I don't tend to get to know people very easily. But PM03s force me to do that. I couldn't believe I was seeing a difference before my third one!

MsSunshine's picture

I'm not new to this, but I'll share mine! 

What surprised me was how much most people were to have them.  So much so that when I was going to be out they always wanted to reschedule instead of cancel!  I was out for 3 days one week a month after I started them.  I had 15 directs.  I gave people the option of just canceling or I'd do them at lunch if I had to to fit them in.  Almost everyone was will to come early, do lunch or stay late to fit in our one-on-one!

Note that I was the first person in my organization to do them weekly.  Some managers did them bi-weekly or monthly or not at all.  Some other managers even snickered about what a waste of time it was.  (They are doing them now!)

ashdenver's picture

When I was originally a line-contributor, I loathed the one-on-one concept.  I think this was mostly due to the fact that our company doesn't DO them very well.  It's a bi-weekly or monthly, one-hour grilling by the manager to the employee as to the status of every nitpicky detail.  I would hesitate to call it a "mini-performance appraisal" because invariably they are negative experiences.

When I moved to manager, I was leery of rolling out the O3s because I had it in the back of my head that everyone experienced them the way I had and viewed them the way I had.  Boy, was I wrong!  I think the MT / M&M approach to O3s is wonderful in and of itself and that was probably the largest part of how great they went over.  I had experiences like Ms Sunshine and NA Miller CPA said - body fluids and reschedule instead of cancel. 

Now that I'm back in the trenches with a boss that isn't my cup of tea, and we're back to working at her mercy, it's agony for me because I've not only seen and been in wonderful O3s, but I know better.  She went six weeks without having a direct conversation with me because she was going to be out on vacation twice, I was out on vacation for two weeks and she had scheduling conflicts.  Mind you, these are bi-weekly one-hour meetings that I absolutely LOATHE.  She has her agenda and I'll be damned if she makes the setting receptive for me to broach any topics.  Grrrrr.

DiSC profile: 7-2-1-5

carguin's picture

I started O3s only recently, and what has really surprised me the most was how my team took to it.  I used to be a member of the team, so stepping into a managerial role had some awkwardness to start with. Previous bosses had attempted some form of O3s,  usually only with specific team members and it never lasted long.

After some internal debate ( from being a high S/C and hating to learn in front of others ), I did what the "Rolling out the Management Trinity" casts said... I used my staff meeting to tell everyone exactly what was happening. I told them about Manager Tools, I pointed them to the pod casts, and I said I was trying this way of running O3s.

Some were obviously dubious at the first O3s, and some still come in saying "I don't know what to talk about"... but the half-hour typically flies by anyway. I've gotten positive feedback from several of my directs about it, and everyone has been very supportive of me.

I've no doubt that I'm not hearing the occasional "let's see how long this lasts" conversation, but that's perfectly fair. If I stopped because of that, then they would be right and I would have deserved it.

12string's picture
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 One of my favorites is walking out of an O3 (after 30 min) with a page full of notes when my DR started off with, "Well, I don't really have much to talk about this week, so we'll see how it goes."


maura's picture
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Thanks for the responses everybody - I'm 5 weeks in now, and it turns out my biggest surprise was the one person who suggested we should have them every other week so we we'd have enough to talk about.  For the past 3 weeks in a row, he's come to the O3 with suggestions, solutions, and data to back them up - these are things that will help the whole team run better and more efficiently - 3 big wins in 3 weeks, and he's showing no signs of slowing down!  It's like he's been waiting around for someone he trusted enough, who was ready to listen.  And I'm seeing similar growth in my relationships with everybody else on the team - as they trust me more, they tell me more, and we continue to grow together and put out better work.

I'm so encouraged I could just scream.  Now, my biggest challenge will be keeping up with this momentum!  Well, that and resisting the temptation to flaunt it in front of the old boss, who once told that meeting one on one with each staff member would be a huge waste of time.