I'm a relative newcomer to MT, and have been hungrily listening to the'basics' podcasts.  As I suspect many people before me, I've had the email about starting O3's in my drafts folder for several days, and have finally sent it.  I've been a manager for about 6 years in my current area of work, and have generally felt that I do OK, but am always trying to improve - which is how I found MT.

So here I am, waiting.  I've booked out my time slots, and I'm waiting for their responses.

For background information, I'm one of two deputy team managers (with a long time absent manager - so really just the two of us) managing part of a team which - in reality, have never been effectively managed before.  Some of them are finding it quite difficult - as I am the first person to actually challenge their poor performance and/or behaviours.  I could go on for pages aboutt he team - they're both fascinating, and verty challenging for me to manage.

So my question is this - what do I do if people refuse to have One-On-One meetings with me?



jhack's picture

First, Welcome to the Forums!   It's always good to see new folks introduce themselves.  You will someday look back at starting 1:1's and realize that this was the moment when things started to change....

Second, don't worry about team members not replying until they don't reply.  You might find they all reply and you've worried for nothing. 

Third, if they don't...well, let us know.  The short answer is, you give them a second chance.  No big deal.  And if they refuse again, then you go ahead and schedule it for them.  And let them know that the two of you are meeting at such-and-such a time.  No worries, it's just our one on one...

It's extremely unlikely that they'll  blow off a meeting that their boss has specifically scheduled and told them about.  Let us know if it comes to that. 

John Hack

cjp147's picture

First, I couldn't agree more with jhack.  Well said. 

The only thing I would add, is that when you start, it will more than likely be awkward for a while.  Each direct will respond differently and it will take a while to get comfortable.  IMO, if they do accept the meeting request, it is important to have the O3s regularly.  Try very hard to not cancel them. 

I started my O3s with a similar team (i.e. both fascinating, and very challenging for me to manage) with about 10 directs.  It amazed how different each O3 was.  And it also amazed me after about 3-6 months how beneficial it was to the entire organization.  It improved team communication, overall operations, it allowed me to give and receive (more) feedback, I became more connected to their work and progress, etc.  If I could go back and time, I would start O3s from the first week.

Good luck!


1000Paperclips's picture

It's a week since my initial email, and I've had one out of five responses.  This is both a little irritating (why are they not as enthusiatic about this as me!?  Yes - I know the answer really) and also not very suprising.  Once I get to giving them adjusting feedback - responding to requests/emails will be on that list.

I've emailed a friendly reminder today, but is it OK to 'make' them happen?  I'm convinced of their usefulness, and can see how rolling out other MT stuff is so much easier if O3's are happening, but it also seems a bit counter intuitive to direct people to attend.

tberge's picture
Training Badge

Welcome to MT and to your first experiences with O3.  Congrats to you for going this direction.

I work in a matrix org and had a lot of trouble starting with the O3 for a variety of reasons.  If your directs do not pick a time, you need to pick one for them and communicate it to them (either by setting an appointment on their calendar or some other way.

When I started these, I had people actually stand me up.  It's okay, I'm not proud.  I would wait a few minutes, and then call them and ask them to come to our meeting.  Then I gave feedback on attending meetings on time.  This, unfortunately is a negative way to start a meeting and makes for an awkward start, but that was the direct's choice, not mine.


You're doing the right thing.  Take it one step at a time, and as much as possible don't take this personal - it is a change and that is tough for some people and they will resist it. 

acao162's picture

I have been doing O3s with my DR for 3 months & still have to physically get out of my office, say "Are you ready to go?  or "Is now a good time?" every single week.

Drives me nuts. 

Having said that, I have not given enough positive feedback yet to start into the adjusting feedback.  Our relationship is very rocky & she is way underperforming.  In this situation, I think she genuinely believes that I am "too busy" & she needs to wait for my invitation.

We'll get there someday, I keep telling her what time & going to collect her.  Baby steps.

tomjedrz's picture
Licensee Badge

A week is far too long for a response to this request. I presume that the emails had deadlines. I have put a link at the bottom of this message to the first of a two-part podcast on "Developing a Sense of Urgency", which I think might need to be implemented in addition to the recommensation below. 

BTW, I am not much for reminders for this kind of stuff. How often does your boss have to ask you for something?

I can see one of several issues going on here, or possibly even some combination of them. It is very possible that the subordinates don't have respect for you personally or for your authority. It is possible that they see the other deputy manager as their manager, and you as one of them. It is also possible that they are playing the two deputy managers against each other much the way children play parents against each other.    

Whatever is going on, it is time to take a stand. You cannot survive and the team will be ineffective if they do not respond to your requests in a timely fashion. And One-on-One meetings are extremely important, so they are a good place to draw the line. This is a battle you need to win, even if it means some hurt feelings. Any damage to the relationships will be fixed over time by the O3s.  

I suggest the following sequence of actions. Call each of them and ask them to come see you immediately. When they show up, ask point blank why you have not received a response to your request. What ever their excuse, next say something like "I am disappointed that you chose to ignore my request. If I don't have a response by the end of your shift today, I will consider it both insubordination and personal disrespect, and will act accordingly. Thanks for coming by." Then put your head back to the computer, or paperwork. Don't speak angrily or emotionally. Don't glare at them or have an aggressive facial expression. Don't raise your voice, keep it level and monotone. Be firm, calm and matter-of-fact.
If they don't respond by the end of the shift, follow through (first thing next shift) with whatever reprimand procedures the organization has in place. Do the same thing if they blow the meetings off, show up late, or don't participate.

I realize that there will be friction. It is likely that you will get push back, most likely through complaints to the other deputy, but perhaps up the ladder. Dealing with those complaints is **not** the time to try and make the case for the value of O3s. Your point, to the subordinates, to the other deputy, and to any superiors, is that you have made clear requests, and they have not complied. They don't get to evaluate the merit of directions from a superior and pick and choose which to obey. 

Urgency podcast: