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I have a DR who went to my boss and quit yesterday. She said she felt like she was being micromanaged by O3's and quarterly reviews. Said that she is self motivated and should not be constantly reviewed like this. Her DISC profile is C, but a very talkative C (almost like an I).

Now my boss does not want me to do any O3's, or only do them bi weekly or once a month. He says at some point people have to be accountable by themselves. My boss is a S.

So I'm guessing that there is a combination of things going on here. One, I recognize I may be conducting the o3 meetings wrong and making it too much about what the direct is delivering to me vs what is on their plate. I am a D/I.

I need suggestions on how to be more effecting during the O3's. I do see them as a valuable tool and I don't want to lose them. However, my boss now sees O3's as the direct cause for a valuable employee leaving the organization. What am I doing wrong?

rwwh's picture

Very unfortunate. What did this employee come up with in her 10 minutes?

Gareth's picture

Prephaps this person was looking to blame something and would have left anyway?

bradleymewes's picture

we talked a lot about her projects, where she was at with them, etc. we spent a lot of time talking about her main project, which was/is developing relationships with decision makers at potential customer firms in order to acquire a major sales account. who she talked to, what the conversations were about. She also tended to bring up conflicts/frustrations she had with other people in the office.

I have know for a while she has been very frustrated at work, but she never once brought up these weekly meetings as a source of discontent. She did bring up in our last reveiw (in April) that she thought quarterly reviews were to often and that she would feel more comfortable with 6 month or 12 month reviews. i told her would think about what she said but that was the last we really spoke of that.

jhack's picture

Top performers rarely complain about performance reviews.

The O3 is about building relationships, not (just) about project reviews. The focus should be on whatever the direct wants to talk about. Then you cover your stuff. Detailed project reviews should be done separately.

I think it's unlikely that the O3 caused her resignation.

John

Peter.westley's picture

Bradley,

Very sorry to hear that this has happened. I have had directs push back very hard on O3s at times too but on balance, they've been very well received. I think you are showing excellent self awareness and maturity to have identified yourself as the first place to look (and be open about it on this forum!)

I agree with John. The primary source of direction in the O3 should be what the direct wants to talk about. Yes, of course, you still have to get your message across, but probing and pushing for all the details of actions and decisions would make me feel micro-managed too.

If you need to probe for more info, make sure it's around the results, not around the method. If the results aren't there, [i]then [/i]there's reason to focus in on the methods. Then that of course, is where coaching and feedback come in to play.

Let the direct drive it.

hrjen's picture

Are you sure you ARE doing something wrong (I'm sure there is something you can improve on, but WRONG)? What do your other DRs think about the O3s. They may resign if you stop doing O3s...

Good topic of discussion for the meetup!
Jenny

thaGUma's picture

Be honest with your team. I think that a loss of a team member can have a negative impact on the remaining members. It is an opportunity to see how things are with your team - I would hold a meeting and invite feedback. Discuss it with your boss and hopefully the results will indicate that you should continue.

You may have doubts on whether the DR who has gone was getting the best out of the O3's - she has gone and is now less important than the least worthy member of your team.

Podcast: How To Ask For Basic Feedback
March 2nd, 2007

ckoester's picture

Interesting issue. I wonder if there were any other behavioral clues during the O3's that would have helped identify this? Was this person purely someone who is just always unhappy? If she was a real top performer, did she possibly see herself as someone that should have been managing the rest of the team instead of you? Did she feel trapped and that the O3's was a way to reinforce your position over her?

If she felt these were too much and she reacted in such a fashion, maybe she was going to be truly trapped in her current position because she did not address her concerns in a way that were professional and productive.

We always have to be cautious about giving [i]too much[/i] credit to exit comments, but there is also usually some glimmer of helpful information to proceed forward with and learn from.

The most disappointing thing is that your manager told you to stop. Obviously your manager does not do them, so likely does not understand them much. Your manager should have taken the opportunity to provide you some coaching if there is a real percieved deficiency!

AManagerTool's picture

Good riddance to bad .... well you get the point.

Too bad your boss is not backing you up. Remember that you cannot give feedback to your boss. Are your current directs happy with the O3's? If not, are you following the O3 format that is described in the podcasts? If so, ask your boss if he/she wants to see the O3 notes that you were taking during your O3's with this particular staff member. Actually...now that I think about it....show them to him whether he wants to see them or not...LOL.

Oh wait....did you take good notes?

US41's picture

When someone quits your team because you are doing O3's, my first assumption is that they are not a top performer. They are in denial, they want to stay in denial, and they don't want feedback or a second pair of eyes looking at their stuff telling them how they could do it better. A top performer is going to want you in their work so they can show you how much smarter than you they are and receive praise. Top performers want time with their boss both so they can understand the strategic direction and so that they can influence it with their opinions. Top performers want to have a closer relationship with the boss because it is in their enlightened self-interest.

You know who wants to be totally independent? People that the O3, feedback, and coaching will quickly expose as not playing on your team and not being willing to change, improve, grow, and develop. They want to do things "right" as opposed to getting you want you ask for.

When they quit, break out the champagne. Start the interviewing process, and go find someone much, much better. Tell them about your management techniques during the interview and gauge their reactions.

Your next task is to go to your boss and sell them on this concept. Is the goal to "keep the family together" or is it to get the work done better and better all the time. O3's will keep those who contribute and really belong in the family together even better, and it will put a spotlight on those who do not belong.

WillDuke's picture

[quote="bradleymewes"]I have know for a while she has been very frustrated at work, but she never once brought up these weekly meetings as a source of discontent. She did bring up in our last reveiw (in April) that she thought quarterly reviews were to often and that she would feel more comfortable with 6 month or 12 month reviews. i told her would think about what she said but that was the last we really spoke of that.[/quote]

So if you knew she was frustrated, why didn't you bring it up?
Did you ever intend to switch review cycle? Or was this an answer designed to put her off?
In your mind, what is the benefit of the O3?
Did you deliver that benefit to this direct?
Did you use the O3 to be about the things that were important to her?

-------
As a high S your boss doesn't like conflict, and especially doesn't like people being uncomfortable. This person was clearly uncomfortable; and it sounds like you knew it.

First you need to be sure you believe in the O3. Poll your directs, see how it's working. If you believe in the O3 after that (or if you already do) then you need to make your case. Cite examples of how it's working well. Perhaps you can get your boss to listen to the MT casts on O3s.

cwatine's picture

[quote]a high S your boss doesn't like conflict, and especially doesn't like people being uncomfortable. [/quote]

[b]About your boss.[/b]

I agree he is probably a high "S" because he did not completey forbid you to do O3s. It is a pure "S" reaction : making a decision which is not black (stop this!) or white (continue) but grey (continue but less).
So don't break Champagne (at east in front of him !) :lol:

"S" are extremely sensitive to the well being of their teams. AND they like changes to be put in place progressively.

1) So, I would "sell" in the fact that O3 are the perfect tool for dialogue, adaptation to people, soft corrections (instead of big changes without a prepatation).
2) I would also explain to him that "decreasing the frequency of O3 risks to increase the force of them because you will have less opportunities to give soft feed back". You will get the opposite of what you are looking for.
3) As Will says, he will be sensitive of the fact that you ask our "remaining" directs their opinion about O3. As a "S" he will always prefer to please the team.
4) The fact that your direct quited may be a good thing for the group. And he should not make a direct link between the "tool" (O3) and what happened.

[b]About yoursef[/b]

Something I found it difficult was to be soft and progressive in my O3. Making several feedback on the same theme before seeing a change was difficult in the beginning because I am a D and was so enthousiastic and excited about what I had learned from Mark and Mike. So the first reaction from my directs was to push back.
Maybe the same happened to you with this consequence.
Before going to my O3, I also have to repeat myself "listen, don't talk, listen, don't talk, listen, don't talk" :oops:

Cédric.

ChrisG*son's picture

I want to encourage you to re-read Peter Wesley’s comment above.

Top performers are not likely to resent performance reviews, but they will resent being second-guessed.

I had been asking for feedback for months before my boss started actually doing it, but the feedback she gave was not adjusting or affirming, and as such, it wasn’t really feedback. She gave broadly-stated, non-behavioral opinions ("you're not proactive") and then told me I needed to complete my deliverables more quickly. Given that she had made no effort to understand what I do (I manage web projects, she’s a new CMO with no tech experience) and her directions were unrealistic (largely because there was no effort to involve me in coming up with solutions), I found her input to be borderline insulting.

I was able to see this as a faltering step on the road of progress and didn’t lose my cool over it, but it does demonstrate how a top performer (based on my annual reviews) who really wanted input could then resent it because of how it’s presented.

I’m not saying you’re doing this, but a lot of those who’ve commented above have simply defended O3s and assumed that anyone who pushed back just didn’t get it. That may well be the case. However, since you have admirably offered up that you may need to improve your handling of O3s, I thought I should drill down a bit on Peter’s excellent observation.

Your reaction to this situation shows a lot of maturity and humility. I’m truly impressed. Best of luck!

tomw's picture

[quote="US41"]When they quit, break out the champagne. Start the interviewing process, and go find someone much, much better. Tell them about your management techniques during the interview and gauge their reactions.

Your next task is to go to your boss and sell them on this concept. Is the goal to "keep the family together" or is it to get the work done better and better all the time. O3's will keep those who contribute and really belong in the family together even better, and it will put a spotlight on those who do not belong.[/quote]

I was about to put together a long response to this one.... then I saw that US41 pretty much wrote what I was thinking.

Celebrate getting rid of a low performer and start looking for a new one. In the mean time, help your boss see that your methods are working for the rest of the team and can continue to do so.

bradleymewes's picture

hi all. sorry for my delay in responding. Great input from all of you. thank you.

A couple of things i have realized in the past 2 weeks.
One on One skills- listen listen listen. During my one on one's i found that I was all talk talk talk, do do do. one on ones were becoming nothing more than a weekly review session for the boss (me) to push my directs. the one on one started to become about me. so, what i am now doing is, like cedric said, is to listen listen listen. I did that last week and my one on ones all lasted over an hour each.

Yes my boss is an S and hates conflict. In fact, he will do almost anything to avoid conflict even to the point of allowing continued poor performance in an effect to "keep the family together". He values dedication and longevity in the company absolutely. It drives me crazy, but it's the framework i have to work within.

ckoester made some good points. [quote]If she was a real top performer, did she possibly see herself as someone that should have been managing the rest of the team instead of you? Did she feel trapped and that the O3's was a way to reinforce your position over her?
[/quote]. I think these hypotheticals accurately identify what was going through her mind.

As a side note, my direct actually changed her mind and is staying on board. Some of you may not like to hear that based on your comments above. However, i think this is a good thing for a multitude of reasons, one of them being that it will remind me that my skills in one on ones, feedback, and coaching are far from perfect. In my zealousness to acheive results and improve performance it appears that I approached her and the situation in an ineffective way that alienates some.

cwatine's picture

Brad-

I don't know if having her back on board is a good or a bad thing.
It depends on the reasons why she did ... And how she will react now to feedback. This is the future that will be interesting ...
And your reactions will be extremely important too. I think you should continue O3 and feedback with her as with the rest of the team.

One of my managers had this case of a very difficult person who was absolutely against O3 in the beginning. She would come to the O3, cross her arms and just answer to the question in a "yes/no" way.
She said to her colleagues that she would quit the company if those O3 continued because "it was a childish form of manipulation" and she called that "the weekly confession".
He persisted and gave her feedback each time about this unprofessional behavior, in a very calm manner.
She very slowly opened herself and began to talk.
She is now one of those who talks the most, and her attitude at work has completely changed. Even if she still call O3 "confessions" (but with a smile now)

Sometimes, those things happen. People finally decide to put their energy in the right direction.

HMac's picture

Brad - well, this is a helluva learning experience for you...

Like others, it's hard for me to say whether your direct NOT quitting is a good thing or a bad thing. Time will tell (but this may be an oportunity to try to uncover the underlying sources of dissatisfaction, because as others on the thread have insisted, the O3's are NOT a legitimate reason to quit...)

* You've had a chance to reflect on your O3 style, and to correct it going forward.

* You've had a chance to think more about your bosses' style, and how you can best support him (or best keep doing what you believe to be right, and communicating with him in a manner that's suited for his style).

These are good outcomes, regardless of the future with this individual direct.

-Hugh

jhbchina's picture

Dear All,

This was an interesting thread. What I learned from it was the listen listen listen part. Here is my dilemma. I work in China, and Chinese employees are not know for their openness. When I ask them to tell me what is going on, or what do they want to talk about. They go straight to work stuff.

I have one expat from Europe in my office, and when we do their O3, they tell me all kinds of things, and then we get to the work stuff.

If anyone else has experience with Chinese staff, please let me know what I could do differently. I am ready to keep my mouth shut if they would open theirs.

AManagerTool's picture

I have learned so much from this thread.

Bradley, Thank you so much for continuing to tell the story. So many times we wonder what happened and don't get any closure on it.

Thanks to all who posted so far. I am humbled and grateful for your contributions.

asteriskrntt1's picture

[quote="bradleymewes"] Now my boss does not want me to do any O3's, or only do them bi weekly or once a month. He says at some point people have to be accountable by themselves. My boss is a S.

So I'm guessing that there is a combination of things going on here. One, I recognize I may be conducting the o3 meetings wrong and making it too much about what the direct is delivering to me vs what is on their plate. I am a D/I. [/quote]

HI Brad

I apologize in advance if this was covered and I somehow missed it. Your boss, whatever his disc style, made a ridiculous set of statements. Yes, at some point people have to be accountable to themselves, but ultimately, they are accountable to you and him. If they are not achieving the corporate goals, they need to be adjusted (O3s, feedback, coaching).

Second, I think you need to go back over the podcasts on O3s. Three distinct sections - 10 minutes each. The first 10-15 is ALWAYS about them... then about work, then about the future if needed. It sounds like your O3s devolved into a team status meeting with a meeting size of one. And in this format, I can see your DR getting very frustrated and feeling micro-managed.

*RNTT

eagerApprentice's picture

I think that anyone who quits because of 101s is either looking for an excuse to leave, has to rearrange their priorities, or would be better off being their own boss of their own company... it can't be possible that 101s caused this, as I believe them to be very valuable in my communication with my line manager.

[quote="jhbchina"]
Here is my dilemma. I work in China, and Chinese employees are not know for their openness. When I ask them to tell me what is going on, or what do they want to talk about. They go straight to work stuff. [/quote]

Yes! This is exactly the dilemma I have as well. I understand that the 101 is their time to talk about whatever they want, but I don't believe that they are aware of this, or don't believe me when I say so.

The only thing that I've found to work is to start asking them many questions, but almost always the topic stays to work.

I've decided to have a weekly team meeting to discuss work only, and then the next day to have the 101s... I feel a bit like dilbert here, having more and more meetings to fix a problem, but I think that I have a long-term problem here that might affect retention...

I do think that the culture dictates people are more comforatable talking to their boss about work while they are in a 101, but if you can't communicate with your directs on a level other than deliverables, you have a long-term problem...

Or maybe I'm wrong?

US41's picture

When a DR quits because of a manager instituting O3's, that is probably good news for the manager. People who don't like having O3's usually are not planning on cooperating and helping you improve performance. I say call it a win in terms of retention and not blame yourself or the tool.

Don't get hung up on having perfect O3's. Your folks will each approach them differently. I start mine off by saying, "The first ten minutes are yours. What do you want to talk about?" New people ask me questions. Top performers start ringing off statistics about work, project successes and ask for approvals. My admin brings me a stack of decisions to make and then talks about her dogs. One of my folks talks about his daughter and his vacations and nothing else. Another one never wants to talk about anything, so I eventually start asking questions.

It's people - so it is messy. Not clean and neat. You just have to accept that when you let people have their ten to fifteen minutes, they will all do something with it that is different. Just run with it. At least you are listening to them.

And that listening for ten minutes is 10 more minutes of listening than your other manager friends are doing, I can promise you that.

cwatine's picture

Yes, if they want to talk "work", then let them talk "work". It is [b]their part[/b]. So this is their choice. Of course, they have to know they are allowed to talk about any subject they choose on that part (maybe check it has been well understood).

The difference between 03 and staff meeting is not that you talk about personal things in the first and about work in the second.

They just cover different communication levels :

- O3 exist to improve communication with your direct by developing a better relationship
- Staff meeting is about coordination, team communication, and developing a sense of accountability through the team

So both are necessary (no Dilbert here!) :wink: