Hi Folks,

I'm just starting O3s with my team, and one of them is a poor performer.  He's an entry-level guy in an entry-level position, so I'm willing to try to coach him into a better performer, but he seems to improve immediately after getting feedback, then go back to his former ways.  Basically it appears as though he is too lazy or not interested in doing his job.  He works part-time on the night shift, and I only see him face to face once a week (two nights a week he works from home, one in the office).

When I give him feedback now, he generally understands what he did wrong and he seems to have a well-developed response mechanism of admitting that he made a mistake and clearly identifying what he should do differently in the future.  He'll do it for a while, then regress.

I've come to realize over the past 6 months that he has not grown at all in this time, and that I could go out on the street and easily find someone I'd be happier with, with minimal business interruption.  He has had a couple of medium-level screw-ups, but not particularly any fire-able offenses.

Monday is my first MT O3 with him.  (I've had a couple of non-MT O3s with him), but now I've found MT.  I'm hoping that it is appropriate for me to lay out the fact that his performance needs to become more consistent and that I should not have to remind him the basics of doing his job every few weeks.  Is it okay for the first O3 to be a somewhat negative experience?  Should I go as far as to tell him that right now I'm having to think hard of reasons to keep him on the team?

Also, since he always admits right away that he was in the wrong and promises to do better, it tends to make the conversation very short.  It will probably not take 10 minutes to go over this with him.  He also has a (common rookie) problem with his technical skills that I would like to coach him on, but I think that is a lot to digest in one O3, and that issue can wait until the next O3 (two weeks later, since he is part time).  But if I have time left over in my 10 minutes, it will be tempting to launch into it.

Any advice appreciated, thanks!  -Jenn

P.S. I'm downloading the Systemic Feedback cast now! 

donm's picture
Training Badge

I think your first MT O3 should not address his mistakes. I think you have more important things to talk about in your portion: What you hope the O3s will accomplish, why they will be weekly, reinforcing the unicorns and rainbows aspect of their side, and any important or unusual circumstances or projects coming up.

You seem to imply that you only give him negative feedback. I think you should try to follow the MT rule of 90% positive feedback. People respond much better to being told what they're doing right than constantly hearing that all they do is screw up. Also, feedback needs to be immediate. That's the other reason not to talk about it in the O3. Try to tell yourself that you'll only give him positive feedback for the next month. What's one month? If he doesn't improve in that time, you get ONE negative feedback that you can give him, and then another month of positive feedback. Have you practiced the MT feedback model?



jennrod12's picture

 Thanks Don,

I do practice the feedback model, but I also just started that recently.  I actually jump on the positive feedback at every opportunity and try to be selective about the negative feedback, but this direct really got to me this week by not doing two very specific things that are primary parts of his job, one of them when I had just reminded him that day to "please make sure you do x, because the team is counting on having this done and it's your last shift this week to do it".  I got up the next morning to find that "x" had not been done, but since the direct is part time, he has not had another shift since then.  In that same shift, he also neglected to do "y", which I had given him feedback about not doing a few weeks ago.

He'll have a remote shift on Sunday, then be in the office on Monday.  Should I give him feedback about x and y via chat on Sunday?  How effective is it to give feedback back-to-back?

I feel like there should be another type of conversation besides feedback and O3, if O3 is not the place to discuss lack of performance.

Thanks again, I am pretty new to MT, but already a big fan.


dennis_sherman's picture
Licensee Badge

There's a podcast on rolling out the trinity. Find it and listen to it before you do anything else!

You can't use the feedback model effectively without having first developed a relationship with the direct. The tool for developing a relationship is the one on one. The MT one on one is about the direct, and what they want to talk about. If you want to have a conversation about performance with the direct, you can do it whenever you want - you're the boss. But don't start one on ones that way. If you start the first one on one ripping his performance, you will probably poison the tool for all time, certainly with that direct and possibly with your entire team. 

"Go slow to go fast" is one of the phrases that M & M use in talking about rolling out the trinity. You can't do it all at once and be fully effective. Three months of weekly O3s before starting MT feedback, or more!

If you just can't wait, there's a podcast "feedback before it's time" that will be helpful.

Dennis Sherman

jennrod12's picture

 Thanks, Dennis,

I will listen to both those podcasts today!

If I mostly do positive feedback, and I keep the O3 to getting to know my direct, then when in the MT model do I address this employee's repeated failure to do the basic parts of his job?  (Especially since he works nights, at home, most of the time and I only see him face-to-face once a week.)  

Do I let him merrily go down the road of non-performance for 2-3 more months, only giving positive feedback?  That will have a negative effect on the team for sure, although he works a very quiet shift so we might get lucky if nothing comes up on it.


jennrod12's picture

 Thanks again, Dennis,

I get it now! :)

I came to MT through a post in linkedIn where someone suggested to a manager to listen to a particular MT podcast, and I listened, too, and thought it was great.  But I was coming in in the middle.  

Your advice was a big help!


dennis_sherman's picture
Licensee Badge

Glad I could be helpful, Jenn. There's a "basics" feed available that will get you a really good grounding in the parts of the trinity and how to roll it out.  And now that I'm on a machine with a real browser instead of a handheld device, it's easy to get and paste the link:

Expect to listen to these podcasts multiple times. I've been listening for > 6 years, and still find new things in them when I listen again. One of the most important things I've learned is that Mark and Mike really do know what they're talking about, and when they say to take this stuff slowly and get it right, it's worthwhile to take *all* of their advice.

Dennis Sherman

aylim14's picture

 Hi Jenn,

To answer your question about what to do if Trinity rollout isn't at that stage yet for negative feedback. Well, there's a cast for that. 

Try searching for "positive feedback before its time" and "negative feedback before its time". 

misstenacity's picture

Jenn, care to let us know what transpired with this direct? Very curious! 


WritePaper's picture

Jenn, I'm also waiting for an answer. :)