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I have a manager reporting to me that has about 12 DRs. She is doing daily 5 minute briefings with each of her DRs and a longer meeting with the two DRs that have a more senior role in her group.

In her O3 today, I suggested moving to the 30-minute weekly format for the O3s with her people, but she is resistant. She feels the daily update is more timely and that she can't afford to lose two half days with 30 minute meetings.

I think this is more of a control issue for her rather than a time issue. She wants to stay intimately connected on a very detailed level with what each of her DRs is doing each day rather than pull back to a weekly level view. She is a high S, BTW.

Any thoughts/ideas on how to motivate her to follow the model and pull back a bit?

RichRuh's picture

Dan--

1. You're her boss. You don't need to motivate her. You can tell her.

2. See #1

3. Try this argument: You cannot have anything but a superficial conversation about project status in 5 minutes. You cannot build a relationship. You cannot talk about their kids. You cannot discuss long-term career goals.

4. Share the podcasts with your direct. If you cannot convince her, perhaps Mark and Mike can.

I hope this helps,

--Rich

jhack's picture

Do you have effective O3's with this direct? That model should provide some guidance. I have encountered no directs who are not fans of O3's after six months.

John

dbobke's picture

I have been doing O3s with my directs for almost a year now. I have good O3 meetings with her - she has seen the model in action for quite some time.

I understand Rich's comments, but I would rather not "command" her to do the meetings according to the model - I think this will just set up resentment from the beginning. I have no problem using the power of the big red flashing sign when necessary, but I don't think this is the moment. She certainly understands that I am an MT disciple and I have given her casts on CD on delegation and she had nothing but positive things to say about them. In fact, she started delegating things the next day!

Maybe I have answered my own question - just as Rich suggested in his #4 point. Maybe the podcasts will do the trick - they certainly did with me. I also liked point #3 - the 5-minute fling is nothing more than a task update. There is no opportunity to build relationship - and that is really what it is all about.

I am certainly open to more comments - load me up in case one of these doesn't work!

US101's picture

Trust yourself about not demanding that she do 30-minute 03's.

Effective managers demand results, not HOW to get those results. O3's are a HOW to.

If her directs are productive and happy, don't mess with it.

When she comes to you with "people issue" then she might be more ready and willing to take your advice.

dbobke's picture

Overall, her team is pretty good. However, we struggle under the pressure of many IT organizations of the demand to complete lots of IT projects for different departments. We definitely (meaning measurably) improved last year, but I think we can do more. Squeezing out the more is going to come from more effectively managing our staff.

I think her team could be better, and I think O3s will contribute to that.

HMac's picture

dbobke-
How about some discussions about effective delegation? I think you nailed it when you mentioned that you think it's a control issue on her part...
Maybe a focus on delegation would help her let go of her need for daily updates.

Or is there some possibility that she feels the need to have daily updates so she isn't caught not knowing about something? Any history of "gotcha" questions that she might be trying to fend off?

-Hugh

jhack's picture

No problem with daily updates (they make sense for some projects and operations). But they're not O3's.

There was a previous brief discussion on the difference between an O3 and "I meet with them every day." http://www.manager-tools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2864

John

BJ_Marshall's picture

I agree with jhack. If you are doing O3s with this direct - and they're effective - then why wouldn't your direct what that type of relationship with HER directs?

As far as "commanding" her to have them: You "commanded" her to have O3s with you, right? I know I told my staff the point was not negotiable. If I can tell my people to meet with me for O3s, I think I would feel pretty justified in telling my people to HAVE O3s.

If you're particularly hesitant, maybe you could give it a trial run. Try O3s for six months. If you don't like the results, you'll refund her old team back. I could almost guarantee that she'll want to keep with them.

BJ

RichRuh's picture

I'm going to inch my way a bit further out on the limb and stand by my original position. Here's how it might sound:

"Jane, you and I have been doing O3s for almost a year. I feel they've been an effective way for us to build a better relationship, and I think you agree. I know you have some concerns about doing them because of the time it takes. I understand that, and I'd still like you to try them out. How about holding O3s with half of your team for 3 months? At the end of the three months we can discuss how they went and see where to go next? OK?"

If they push back, you emphasize again the benefits- especially
- the importance of building good relationships
- the fact that everyone else is doing it
- the fact that O3 meetings will help you see longer trends not visible in 5 minute meetings
- the fact that you'll get less interruptions of minor things throughout the week because they will save them up- and you'll get some of your 30 minutes back

My point- you can tell someone to hold O3s without being a drill sergeant giving a COMMAND. :)

--Rich

p.s. I'll add that if your direct was a high D, you'll want to change your wording. In fact, you might want to make it sound a command after all.

jhack's picture

Mike and Mark address this issue specifically in a podcast, "How to develop employees"

http://www.manager-tools.com/2005/11/how-do-you-help-employees-develop/

The situation is covered starting at the 28:00 minute point in the podcast.

John

dbobke's picture

This is all great discussion - thanks to all.

I agree with Rich on that point that "command" is too strong a word - and she is NOT a high D! However, to wmarsha1's point that I "commanded" my directs to do O3s with me - that is true. I said we are doing these meetings and let's fit them into your calendar. However, there is a big difference about telling your directs that you want to have a meeting with them and telling one of you managers that they need to have specific types of meetings with their directs - it is more intrusive and can appear as dictating style. I am not saying it is wrong to want them to do this - I am just looking for suggestions on how to approach it and influence her.

There are a lot of good suggestions here - I am going to choose the bits that I think will work and I will update on progress. This is what these forums are about - we all have a great group of people at our fingertips that are ready and willing to help - very cool stuff.

tcomeau's picture

I like RichRuh's approach generally, and I'd also try to "sneak up" on the specific results you're trying to get.

So a conversation that sounds like:

"Jane, how did Daryl's daughter do?"

"Huh? Daryl's daughter do at what?"

"Well, her first start on the varsity team was last week, and I wondered how he thought she did."

"Oh, I didn't know he had a daughter who played ball!"

"Yes, he does. You know, this is the kind of thing I learn in one-on-ones, and I find it helps build the relationship to treat people as whole people. Which gives me a thought. Can I share some feedback with you?"

"Sure..."

"When you don't have a regular, half-hour, structured meeting with your directs, but rely on quick five-minute status reports, you don't have the time to find out what else is important in their lives, you don't get a chance to see beyond today's issues, and you aren't taking the time to build a relationship. What could you do differently?"

And see if Jane figures out that O3s are the answer.

tc>

stephenbooth_uk's picture

I like the idea of getting your direct to try them for a period with regular reviews. During the period you can ask them about the O3s they've done in the last 10 minutes (starting doing O3s is part of their development) of their O3 with you and give minor course corrections through feedback as appropriate.

Ambushing them with questions about their directs' families seems a bit underhand to me. Maybe once they've been doing O3s for a while introduce the questions, it's part of the review process then ("I know Daryl's daughter made the team, do you?").

Stephen

AManagerTool's picture

[quote="tcomeau"]I like RichRuh's approach generally, and I'd also try to "sneak up" on the specific results you're trying to get.

So a conversation that sounds like:

"Jane, how did Daryl's daughter do?"

"Huh? Daryl's daughter do at what?"

"Well, her first start on the varsity team was last week, and I wondered how he thought she did."

"Oh, I didn't know he had a daughter who played ball!"

"Yes, he does. You know, this is the kind of thing I learn in one-on-ones, and I find it helps build the relationship to treat people as whole people. Which gives me a thought. Can I share some feedback with you?"

"Sure..."

"When you don't have a regular, half-hour, structured meeting with your directs, but rely on quick five-minute status reports, you don't have the time to find out what else is important in their lives, you don't get a chance to see beyond today's issues, and you aren't taking the time to build a relationship. What could you do differently?"

And see if Jane figures out that O3s are the answer.

tc>[/quote]

I love it. Crafty, subtle...then BAM feedback! I actually don't think its underhanded at all...if you actually know that Daryl's daughter plays ball.

tcomeau's picture

[quote="stephenbooth_uk"]
Ambushing them with questions about their directs' families seems a bit underhand to me. [/quote]

I take your point. It is a bit underhanded, and I agree it wouldn't be appropriate to introduce the notion that a manager should be doing O3s this way.

I think I was responding to the notion that attempts to suggest, recommend, direct or coach a manager to do O3s was failing, and they needed some concrete feedback on why they should be doing them. My previous post doesn't make that clear, and I should have done so.

tc>

bflynn's picture

Horstman's Law #8 - The other way often works just fine.

Don't push it. You wouldn't like it if your manager made you start managing a different way. Let her run her team as she wants...it is HER team, not yours.

As far as the extra efficiency goes, know when to say when. I have seen IT services organizations ruin themselves over trying to gain extra efficiency. Its very easy to push too hard and you won't know it until you lose your top performers. Is the extra 15% worth it?

Brian

dbobke's picture

I am definitely familiar with Horstman's Laws. But the law states "the other way OFTEN works just fine." Based on my observations and measurements, I think this group can do more and I think starting with O3s is the way to start to improve things. BTW - if my manager cares enough to coach and direct me towards a proven successful method of doing management, I would be thrilled.

I have been digesting the comments and thinking much about this. A light clicked on in my head when I really started to look at the fact that I have two management roles - I manage a group of people who are NOT managers themselves and I manage one person who has a group of people reporting to her. The people who report to me that have no management responsibility themselves are given feedback and coached primarily in the individual tasks and operations that they perform or contribute to the department. The woman who is a manager has different responsibilities than the others and it is my job to give feedback, coach, and observe and direct her skills and tasks as a MANAGER as well as a technical task performer.

My point is that her management activities are definitely "fair game" for suggestion, feedback, coaching and direction just as I would coach or direct one of my sysadmins on a technical task

WillDuke's picture

I think it's completely reasonable for you to tell her she has to do the O3s. There are lots of things you tell her she has to do; you're her boss. From reading your posts I think you have come to that conclusion as well.

As for approach, well, what patterns of communication does she use? Can you assign her a letter from the DiSC model? I think we can be a lot more help with that information. Also, if you can identify some of the challenges she believes she faces, those can be worked in as well.

People here in the forums are very helpful, and I'm sure would be happy to craft some samples. :)

terrih's picture

The latest 'cast, "The Manager Tools Talent Scouting Averages," seems to me a great answer to this question. 8)

bflynn's picture

I dunno - if I was on the receiving end of this, I don't think I would take it very well, like you're hitting me on the head with a baseball bat. I suppose it depends on personality types.

Brian

dbobke's picture

I had the conversation with the manager that reports to me about starting one-on-ones with her staff. As expected, there was resistance and the common excuses - I don't have the time, I already do this with my daily task meetings, etc. I explained that one-on-ones are not about task updates - it is about building a relationship with your direct reports. I outlined the fact that since I have started one-on-one meetings with my directs, I am more productive, my team is more productive, we have delegation going on, and everyone knows that they have a 30 minute time where they can address anything they want - and that this is a powerful thing.

I also explained that the primary thing we have been working together on - delegation of the "small balls" - will go much smoother if you have weekly one-on-ones because as M&M point out, you have this nice bucket to capture that delegation process in.

The way it ended is that I told her that I understand that she doesn't like it, but that I want her to try it with her two most senior people as a start. I am certain that she will find how powerful it is.

MsSunshine's picture

...not tell them what to do. That is a critical thing in its success for me.

You say
[quote="dbobke"]I think this group can do more ...[/quote]

Does she understand that? Have you given her feedback in the form of the behaviors/results that you need that aren't happening and the impact of that and asked her what to do about it? Has she tried other things that haven't worked and you've given feedback on the continuing problem.

I would not focus on the solution which you believe involves doing 03's. I'd focus on the problems. She obviously knows you feel 03's are important. She has to own up to the problems you see - not just not doing 03's - and fixing them. If you just force her to do the 03's, I'd think they just wouldn't have the same impact. I do agree that she'll probably get there - and it may take longer. But like with my 15 year old son, some people have to learn the hard way! :o

My situation isn't a direct correlation but maybe it helps. I was the only manager doing 03's when I came on as a manager here about 4 months back. I believed strongly in 03's and did them in spite of comments about not understanding that it can't work here from my peers. They gave the typical comments from the other managers about not having the time, needing/wanting to do more product work that people management, etc. But when the results from the company Employee Engagement survey came out and they had all been hammered, their bosses pushed them to fix the problems. A number of them have since started bi-weekly 03's. :D

dbobke's picture

Don't confuse this with feedback - none of this started as feedback. And yes, she understands that the team is doing OK but that the expectation is that they can do more.

Step 4 of the feedback model has you ask "what can you do differently?" when giving adjusting feedback. However, it is certain that you are expecting a reasonable answer/solution. If their response to adjusting feedback is to answer the question with "hide in my cubicle and hope you don't find me" - then you would say "no - try again". However, none of this came out of feedback - this was a conversation about team performance and managerial effectiveness.

BJ_Marshall's picture

I'm re-reading "First, Break All the Rules." It says something about setting the right outcomes, not steps. Standardize the end but not the means. Can you have great relationships with highly productive staff [outcome] without O3s [steps]? I'm sure it's possible.

But I also think O3s have been far more effective than what I was doing before.

BJ

MattJBeckwith's picture

Rich, I agree.

Tom, great way to work the feedback in.