I'd like your advice on when to start MT-style O3s with a skip who will become my direct in 6 weeks, and he'll be a first-time manager supervising his former peers.


I'm a director who started O3s 5 weeks ago with my two directs, call them A and B. As prescribed by MT, I'm rolling out slow, so I told A & B I expect them to eventually start MT-style O3s with their directs but that we would do them for a while ourselves first to get used to them before they had to start with their directs. They already have good relationships and  do bi-weekly 1-hr check-ins with their directs, but I want to transition us all to MT-format weekly O3s.

Six weeks from now, one of my skips, call him C, will be promoted to (first-time) manager and so I'll have three directs (A, B, & C) and we will redistribute the staff into three teams from the current two. I'd like C to start MT O3s with his new directs (his former peers) right away, but he hasn't experienced them yet with his current manager, B, since I am rolling out slow.

Should I:

1. Have A & B start MT O3s with their directs (including C) now, before we switch to 3 teams, so that C experiences it with B, even though we'll soon be redistributing the directs among three managers?

2. Start O3s with C now, while he is still technically my skip for the next 6 weeks till his promotion?

3. Start O3s with C later, when he is promoted and becomes my direct, and have him wait to start O3s with his new directs till he and I have done them for a couple months?

4. Something else?


Chris Zeller's picture
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Hi Van,

The timing makes this a tricky question -- I think the answer is 2 (start O3s with C now). It's the least worst option and allows you to keep your timeline relatively intact and to deliver a consistent experience for more people.

Consider all of your skips and the imminent restructuring that's going to happen.

And remember that the whole point of O3s is to foster strong relationships and trust between managers and their directs.

Option 1

Having A and B begin rolling out O3s now doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Their directs are going to change when you re-align from two managers to three and there's little value in having A and B conduct O3s with people who will no longer be their directs in just a few weeks' time.

You'd also be hitting C with the double whammy of facilitating a new process immediately on the heels of learning about that new process for the first time. 

Option 3

Viable, but it makes for an inconsistent experience among your skips and potentially puts C and the skips that will report to him at a disadvantage if there's any sort of rank-stacking/relative comparison baked into your performance management process.

If you believe in O3s, you believe in the results that they drive. Delaying increases the risk that, when performance management comes around, C will compare unfavorably with his A and B peers as will your C-skips against their A-skip and B-skip peers.


You might also consider some role-playing for A, B, and C as the time of transition gets closer so that they can practice taking on the "manager" role within the O3 context -- how to introduce it, talking points, dealing with pushback, scheduling, facilitating, etc.

Van1's picture

Thanks Chris, I appreciate the advice.


Van1's picture

Relatedly, I was planning to start rolling out feedback soon with A & B (experienced managers), and have them roll out to their directs later per the MT rollout schedule. Should I postpone, to give C time to settle in as a new manager and keep all three managers on the same page, or go ahead with A & B now?

Additional wrinkle: B will be leaving in a couple months, so I'll have a manager vacancy and eventually another new manager (my direct). So keeping all three managers on the same schedule of Trinity Rollout is hard.

Chris Zeller's picture
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Thanks for the additional context. With B's departure, you won't have 2 tenured managers + a newbie; you'll have 1 veteran (A), and newly promoted manager (C), and a B-prime vacancy yet-to-be filled.

That does indeed make it difficult to keep everyone on the same page at the same time.

I still don't see much value in your skips begining O3s with someone who isn't going to be their manager in the "future state." The sooner you can establish those relationships and the greater the consistency, the more effective the O3s will be.

Question: Is B's upcoming departure public knowledge?

Second Question: Can you accelerate the effective promotion date for C and the related "future state" re-alignment of teams? If you can, I see some benefits:

  • Excellent stability/consistency for A and those who will remain A-skips 
  • Your imminet C-skips begin O3s with C sooner, though C has to learn and practice both sides of a new interaction
  • Your B-skips get introduced to the idea while B is still with you; if you backfill B with any of your skips it won't be entirely new when the time comes
  • If you go outside of your reporting chain to backfill B, B-prime will inherit a team that's already familiar with the concept.
Van1's picture

B's upcoming departure is common knowledge.

I don't know when I'll be able to fill B's spot. Could be months from now, or could be a gap of only a couple weeks.

I can't accelerate C's promotion date.

I think I'll focus on O3s with C now, then C can start them with his new directs when he's promoted.


Thanks Chris

Chris Zeller's picture
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Neat. Let us know how it plays out.

jrb3's picture
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O3s are manager-and-direct, not manager-and-skip, so #2 is out if you're thinking it means "you and him" rather than "his current manager and him".

Are you ready for A and/or B to start their O3 roll-outs?  If not, #1 is out because they're not ready.  If they are, it doesn't matter that C's going to shift.

And if B's not ready for roll-out before the promotion happens, already having experienced O3s, why do you think C would be ready with neither notice nor experience of it?

You're left with #3.  That's the situation you'd be in with an external hire, anyway.  You'd not leap-frog that new-hire ahead of A and B in your own roll-out, why leap-frog C?  So C rolls-out separately, just like you'd expect with an external hire.

"Go slow to go fast."