Hi all,
I have just had a meeting with my manager and he has told me to stop O3s, feedback, delegating and coaching.
What do I do??
The issue is culture centric, he has decided that the trinity is too formal for the cultural despite 1 year 3 months of running the trinity with spectacular results.

Background: i recently had to discipline a team member for major negligence and was forced by our legal advisor to give a written warning rather that terminate despite well documented evidence. The team member immediately resigned with 5 weeks notice. I recommend to pay out the remaining time due to hostile reaction to the warning. I was then advised we couldn't do that. In the meantime the team member started a toxic whisper campaign, which I was unaware of until it was too late & my relationships with half the team suddenly crashed.

I have worked really hard over the past 2 months to get things back on track and I am finally reaping the benefits and morale is getting back to normal. However, 1 &1/2 weeks ago the manager from another department was hastily appointed as my manager (1 days notice) and began an investigation.

Today he had a lunch meeting with me to deliver his results and dictated how I am to manage going forward. The trinity is off, along with saying hello to the team in the morning, running meeting on time ,
Celebrating big team achievements, DISC and documenting. All in the interests of making the team happier (confusing). Also some comments that the use of the feedback model and starting O3s and my personality were perceived as disingenuous and robotic, but I was unable to get any further information on what was giving this impression or how I could improve (despite numerous follow up questions, I was eventual told to Google how not to be robot in a joking tone).

I had even giving him show notes on the trinity so he could better understand how I manage.

I'm feeling lost and confused and desperate want to get the team back to their best and i have no idea how to do that without the trinity.
I'm told my job is not at risk, but i know that results will quickly drop without feedback & O3's & sure as anything my job will be at risk then.

Help me please.
Mark and Mike, this is my darkest day i need your guidance more than ever!

Mark's picture
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Well, first, I'm sorry to hear that you're not getting suport from above. Always frustrating.

We do have some guidance related to this.  Just to check: you're quite clear that your boss isn't guestioning you, or doubting O3 value, or just disagreeing?  Those are not commands, as we say in this cast: Also, you can just stop calling them One On Ones,

We also do say in there, if you're certain you were told to STOP, then you really do have to stop.  OUr general rule is "Don't lose your job because your boss is an idiot."

Two related things: (1) Can you give me more context for what you do, what your people do, their response to your O3s, previous boss's support or lack thereof, your performance as a manager before and during O3s, and (2) what is the larger context going on in your company?  New HR, Reorg, new employee on your team who started whispering months ago?

You can also do what I call SOFT O3s, where you go to each of your folks' desks each week and ask lots of questions, and also have your own list of topics to share.  You can also deliver soft feedback.  Not as good, but better than the stupidity of an O3 ban.

I hope we can help.  And, it's possible that the answer is soldier on without O3s unless you want to get a new boss.





johnnymindgames's picture

Hi Mark,

Thank you for getting back to me so quick. It is great to be coversing with me. I am a huge fan & manager tools is the reason I have succeeded thus far.

BLUF: Soft O3's and Soft feedback sound like a solid solution. Is there a cast for that? 

The other core issue is was feedback about my personality & delivery being "robotic" and "lacking humanity", help on this would be great. The feedback was non-specific and non-behaviour so not sure if you can help, but it seems to be a perception issue, so anything I can do I will try. 


After reading your comment I have sought clarity on the STOP instruction. Soft O3's look like they pass the grade, but the O3 meeting is off the table, I had tried the name change and was getting good results without drawing attention but now they are off the table, as is the feedback model, the soft feedback will probably get across the line. 

1. Context:

Company & Team:

I manage a team of 18 customer service admin staff in a Insurance building company in Melbourne, Australia. It's a small to medium size company, just approaching the 150 mark. I have worked for the company for 1 year 3 months. I have a team leader under me, however she is very inexperienced & I am teaching her as much as I can to help her stand on her own. She has a increadible technical knowledge of all aspects of the admin side of the business but lacks in the managerial & statergy skill. Where as I am trying to gain the expertise on the many complex processes and knowledge on the jobs in the team and I excel in the managerial & stratergy side of the job. I am High C Hig D, she is High S high C (or so I surmise). 

We are a front line team and also provide support to our partner team who run the building jobs. 

Reception of O3's by team:

The O3's are split between myself and the my team leader due to the size of the team & there is 45 min to an hour of job review that the company insits we do at the end of each O3 that I can't get out of. 

The team have mixed reception to the O3 and those who are fully engaged in them (about 1/2 of the team) love them and gain great beneifit. The other half are disengaged in the O3's & I get the impression they feel they are a waste of their time, these are mostly the older team members who were in the company before I started & I have the most resitance from them across the board. Prior to the warning to the team member I would have said the team was 95% engaged and participating, but my relationships with the seniour team members has definitely taken a big hit & I fear stoiping O3 will only make that worse. 

Also a large part of the feedback I got from my boss was to do with my personality being "robotic" and "lacking humaninty" (really tough to hear that). This has apparently come out of the interview he ran with team members, so as per your guidance if 7 people say I have a pink tail I need to check. I am a quite and reserved person and I tenfdd to be very work centric. I try to let my hair down & share my self in the O3's but I am aware this is stilted and uncomfortable in the O3 with the team members who are resiting participation. I'm hoping if I keep working at sharing myself & giving them the opportunity to share and voice their concerns will help get past this. i am also wanting to roll out DISC to the team to over come this but the company does want to fund it. 

My performance as a manager:

Before O3's was very short at this company I started rolling out the trinity within 2 weeks of starting. In my previous job I had struggled to build relationships with staff and encounterd a lot of problems before I found managertools and turned around the team.

Support from Boss:

My boss was my Boss for my first 3 months in the role as a transition to make sure the team and I were settling in. Then I was directly reporting to the National construction manager, who is very busy. In the first 3 months I was well supported & continued to be until December last year when the national construction manager was pulled away from my area to direct a running of a storm event. This has reduced his involvement fby 50% for 6 months, he has been switching between teams 1 week on andf1 week of for 6 months. Since then I have felt support slipping away & feel other managers in this division have felt the same. 

During the O3's: In this job it has been a steady stream of successes from day 1 and we have built an amazing high performance team together. I really am proud of what they have acheived. My boss and all the seniour management aknowledge the huge performance change in the team & that my managemnet has led the team to acheive the amazing results, he even started the conversation by pointing out the succes & that it was due to my work. 

Larger Context:

The Company:

My team is going strong, and there are always new challenges, we have expanded the team recently due to new work streams & some shift of interstate team member to their states work. The other division in my office has had a drop in work for a month or so & this was given as part of the reason for the move of my boss to manage me. The have been no other staffing reorgs & no new managers or HR.

Team changes:

The whisper campaign was from a seniour staff member I had to give a disciplinary warning to. It came off the back of many sestemic feedback issues, 2 prior performance improvement plans & she had attempted to game the KPI's to hid the fact she wasn't doing the required work. It was shoretly after the resignation was submitted that things started going wrong. 

There have since been 4 new staff hired 1 to replace the staff member who was replace & 1 to replace a team member who was promoted (3rd so far!) 1 to replace an interstate team member & 1 newly created position.   


I agree it would be senseless to fall on my sword over this and I really want to see the team do well & I fear thins will spiral if I can't continue the trinty. 


Thanks for your help,



Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

John- My recommendation is to do Soft O3s which include Soft feedback when it's time.  (Both future casts, sort of).


Soft O3s are easy.  Make a point of cancelling your existing ones, and letting everyone know your boss has told you to stop doing them.  If it were me, I'd copy my boss on the mail, but I recommend you NOT do that.

Then, after an intervening week with no meeting resembling O3s, pay attention to your folks' schedules, and stop by THEIR desks individually when they don't have something coming up (assuming you have visibility into their calendars, which isn't negotiable).  Then, ask if they have a minute.  When they almost inevitably say yes, tell them, "I've got some updates for you on some stuff, and just wanted to check in." Then, you cover your stuff.  Then, ask them if they've got any questions, concerns, suggestions, recommendations, ideas.  

After a few months, you can start giving soft feedback (base your timing on your assessment of EACH direct's readiness (which I always got by asking directly).  Soft feedback is just STARTER Feedback:

Stealthy.  Not as good as the real thing, but tolerable when working for nut job crazy town bosses.



johnnymindgames's picture

Thanks Mark,

I'll start the soft O3 the week after next, sounds like a great solution in the difficult circumstances. In the mean time I'll tighten up my resume and warm up my network in case the worst happens, but I think I'll be able to get the results we need with the soft O3's and feedback. I'll let you know how it goes. 

I'm also going to work on being a bit more casual and relaxed in my delivery and behaviour at work to help reduce issue of the big red sign and culture fit. Hopefully by hitting it from both sides I'll be able to get the right balance. 

Also I had to have the personal scent conversation with a team member a month or so ago. Your guidance was brilliant, It would never have gone so well with out it. I can not say enough how much Manager tools has helped me & how appreciative I am of the work you, Mike, Wendi, Danni, Sarah and all the other team member at Manager tools do.

Thank you, I'm feeling a lot more hopefully and optomistic. 


johnnymindgames's picture

Hi Mark,

Can you recomend any MT affliated companies in Melbourne, Australia?

I have started the soft O3's without drawing attention, they are getting the result I need. Unfortunately, it seems to be too little too late. The director has restructured the department, my team leader has been moved into a new team (effective last Monday), pushing me into essentially a soft demotion. Ironically this has upset the manger who was sent into stop the O3's & feedback, as he is essentially being demoted into my role. Now he is on my side and contemplating bring back the O3's... Although, I worry that this is a trap to get heat off him.

Today I had a meeting with 2 seniour managers, they started looking at what work they could remove of mine & either drop it or move it to someone else. The pretence was to free me up to focus on more important task, which normally I'd be all for, I streamline my work & delegate wherever I can. However, when I asked what the new focus was & what I should set my goals around they gave me some very vague answers. Word for word it was "[the director] has some future plans and goals that might need more of your time at some point", no timeline, no tasks, no directives, not even the option to discuss it with the director despite digging in for detail several times. I feel like I'm being pushed out the door.

I've sharpened up my resume and started warming up my network & I'm setting up my job search this weekend. In the mean time I'm keeping frosty & getting results at work, I'll keep up the soft O3's until things get back on top or I find a new home to role out the trinity in. 

I love the MT trinity & want to work somewhere that imbraces this management style. Do you have any recomendations of MT affiliated companies I should keep an eye out for in my job search that operate in Melbourne, Austalia?






johnnymindgames's picture

Hi Mark,

Thank you so much for your advice. The soft one on ones and soft feedback have had a sensational result (I knew it would work because it can from manager tools) and the results have been better than I could have imagined.

The team is back on track, succeeding and hitting even higher goals than we had achieved before. My direct manager has done a full 180 and is supporting me bringing back O3's and feedback in their proper form. The managing director has personally complimented me on the success of the team and my performance over the last few month on multiple occasions. 

It worked so well the company has allowed me to train an group of my top performer to be team leaders, and future leaders of the company, which is helping to motivate the team to new heights.

Kind Regards,



Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

John - Soft O3s in your situation are a delicate act.  Congratulations on handling that line so well, and ending up on the other side in a much better place.  Political Ninja, you are!

Glad we were able to help.