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Should I shred the notes or leave them? My replacement is one of my directs and may not care to continue the practice.
Suggestions

jhack's picture

Don't turn them over. Only you know the context.

John

tlhausmann's picture

I suggest retaining the O3 notes. Your former directs may need letters of recommendation down the road.

eschenk's picture

I agree with the previous respondents do not turn over your O3 notes as there could be personally sensitive information and no context.

I do suggest that you have a transition plan--that way any relevant information in your O3 notes can be transferred to the new manager.

Also, you indicated your direct who is taking over for you may not continue O3's--if you have led her/him well then s/he should see the value of O3s.

Good luck in your new endeavor.

HMac's picture

Put 'em in a box and take 'em home. If you can't take them with you, destroy them.

They're of no use to anybody but you - other managers won't understand the context.

-Hugh

US41's picture

Do not turn them over to anyone. They would then become "documentation", and somehow, someway, your next batch of reports will hear that you did so. It's Murphy's Law.

I think the only time you would ever turn them over is when you have decided that a direct needs to go. Then you could provide them to HR. But not a following manager.

Destroy or take with - protect your directs from your cryptic notes to yourself being used for evil.

jgfellow's picture

Based on M&M's podcasts, the O-O-O process mimics the army system. Part of the point of the army system is that your notes are of great importance in the event that you are killed in action. I am surprised to see such unanimity in the opinion that one's notes can't be of transmitted.

So let's turn this around: let's say that you just took over a group from a manager who's leaving the company tomorrow. She comes to you and says: "Would you like my collection of O-O-O notes?"

Should you say "no, they'll lack context?"

jhack's picture

Actually, I would decline the offer.

I would want performance reviews, and a followup discussion with the outgoing boss. The reviews should cover career goals and the like, with the conversation to touch on a few items that maybe aren't in the reviews.

A clean slate is a good thing sometimes. 2 years of O3's with 10 directs is 1000 pages of notes. I'm not going to read that.

John

US41's picture

Given how crummy most managers are, I'd want nothing. I'm really not interested in the opinions of others regarding people I am inheriting. I have low confidence that my experience will be the same.

bffranklin's picture

Furthering what John and 41 have said:

O3s notes are not (primarily) documentation. Notes help you remember things that are important for building relationships. In handing them off, they lose their primary function because the new manager doesn't have a relationship with the team -- even if a team member is promoted to take over, they don't have a boss-direct relationship with the team. This is precisely why the lack of context makes them dangerous.

HMac's picture

[quote="jgfellow"]Based on M&M's podcasts, the O-O-O process mimics the army system. Part of the point of the army system is that your notes are of great importance in the event that you are killed in action. [/quote]

It might be based on the army system, but this isn't the army. One of the many ways the civillian workplace differs is that the incedence of managers being killed in action is lower. Performance appraisals and the contents of the HR jacket address the need for documentation.

jgfellow's picture

[b]HMac[/b]: In your experience, how much do you typically get in the form of appraisals and HR jacket? I can't remember a single occasion on which I have gotten more than a single prior annual review.

[b]Brandon[/b]: Yours is a good point (that O-O-O is about relationship building). But I do recommend that you go back and listen to M&M's podcast on Annual Reviews. They certainly think that O-O-Os provide critical information for performing annual reviews. They recommend that you bring your O-O-O binder to the review itself to be able to pull out examples of performance that explicitly [u]didn't[/u] go into the Annual Review. Your conception of what goes in the notes is reasonable, but I think that M&M present an equally reasonable and alternate view. ([i]If M&M are monitoring, feel free to correct me on my interpretation of your podcast[/i])

[b]US41[/b]: I can't argue with you. But I'm assuming that KS180's notes aren't crummy. Are you saying that you wouldn't accept O-O-O notes that you knew to be based on the Manager Tools style?

[b]John[/b]: I wouldn't bother reading 1000 pages either. But I may well read 2-8 weeks worth (from your example: 20-80 pages). A clean slate is great for the direct. Is it necessarily great for the manager?

jhack's picture

My relationship with the direct will be unique.

I do want the performance appraisals, team goals, current project plans, etc. Those are relevant.

People discuss things in O3's that are personal and based on trust. I need to build, [i]to earn[/i], that trust. Situations at home, health issues, worries about the globe, and anxiety about the company are [i]not[/i] conversations one can simply pick up where the previous manager left off.

O3's exist to build relationships, not collect facts.

John

bffranklin's picture

[quote="jgfellow"]

[b]Brandon[/b]: Yours is a good point (that O-O-O is about relationship building). But I do recommend that you go back and listen to M&M's podcast on Annual Reviews. They certainly think that O-O-Os provide critical information for performing annual reviews. They recommend that you bring your O-O-O binder to the review itself to be able to pull out examples of performance that explicitly [u]didn't[/u] go into the Annual Review. Your conception of what goes in the notes is reasonable, but I think that M&M present an equally reasonable and alternate view. ([i]If M&M are monitoring, feel free to correct me on my interpretation of your podcast[/i])[/quote]

I'm sorry for being unclear! I completely agree that O3s should contain documentation of behaviors (in fact, one of my big takeaways from the NY conference was that I wasn't taking nearly enough notes!). Yes, O3s notes can be used for discipline, annual reviews, or a host of other things. These aren't the _primary_ function of O3 notes, though.

Going further, it's interesting that you mention performance reviews.. An MT performance review is really just about pulling the behavioral documentation out of O3s and does far more for context than the raw material would.

Look at it this way... My notes say "Bob had Cindy commit to modifications to systems X, Y, and Z." A new manager says "So what?" I know, though, that Cindy is a bear to deal with and has had bad relationships with my group for some time and this was a huge win, especially for Bob because he's been working on his soft skills. This sort of thing comes out in the objective, well documented context of the performance review, but not in my notes because my notes are for me.

rwwh's picture

[quote="tlhausmann"]I suggest retaining the O3 notes. Your former directs may need letters of recommendation down the road.[/quote]

Tom, I would just write the letter of recommendation immediately and trash the O3 notes. And the same when an employee moves on to a new job.

US41's picture

[quote="jgfellow"][b]US41[/b]: I can't argue with you. But I'm assuming that KS180's notes aren't crummy. Are you saying that you wouldn't accept O-O-O notes that you knew to be based on the Manager Tools style?[/quote]

No, I would not. I just prefer to make up my own mind. The guy that rocked for you might be that way because your disc matched or because of other factors. He might resent me and a new top performer that stunk for you might rise up and do well for me. I really just don't care what you say about your folks. I prefer to find out for myself.

eschenk's picture

[quote="jgfellow"]Based on M&M's podcasts, the O-O-O process mimics the army system. Part of the point of the army system is that your notes are of great importance in the event that you are killed in action.[/quote]

As a veteran of the Army (1st Cav. Division) and one who did turn over documentation to others I can tell you that the only papers I ever turned over were official documentation, not any of my personal notes.

I still say keep the O3 notes to yourself--or better yet, burn 'em.

jgfellow's picture

I've never been in the position to turn my O3 notes over to another manager. Nor have I ever received notes from anyone. I [u]have [/u]been in the position of not knowing enough about my directs. There are large frictional costs involved in learning their strengths and weaknesses over time. It's unfortunate that your O3 notes can't be a tool to help your replacement reduce those costs.

Most of the arguments that have been presented here are, at least, debatable. The one that I can't get past is that of trust. If it's possible that you've taken at least one note that a direct told you in confidence, you can't justify passing your notes on to the new manager.

I hope that you've found this discussion useful (or at least entertaining).

Cheers.

tlhausmann's picture

[quote="rwwh"][quote="tlhausmann"]I suggest retaining the O3 notes. Your former directs may need letters of recommendation down the road.[/quote]

Tom, I would just write the letter of recommendation immediately and trash the O3 notes. And the same when an employee moves on to a new job.[/quote]

I see your point and rwwh you may be right. There has been no turnover since starting O3s so no recommendations to write! :-) My O3 notes for seven directs are in bound notebooks and quite portable. If I had 10 *years* of O3 notes to retain that would be a different matter.

O3s with *all* directs started last fall...so there is not too much, yet.

HartHughes's picture

I dont think any good could come of it so why hand them over. What i do instead is conduct a transition review with the new manager and direct so anything the direct and I have discussed formally is captured for the new manager to bake into thier management style. This is more for continuity of the directs growth than anything else and not intended to be a session where i try to influence the new managers style or approach or even jade thier opinion of the direct. It is mainly to keep growth goals in process.

As far as keeping them myself, any paper i have gets scanned pretty regulary... in this day and age, i find paper pretty much a hassle but i get why paper is useful for the initial note taking in not just 1x1's but meetings as well.

HMac's picture

Interested readers:
Take a look at the story in the first post of the thread called "O3 notes - I must be doing something right"

http://www.manager-tools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=23549#23549

...it's a real-life story that makes the important point that O3 notes are really useful tools to the manager who writes them...and probably not so much for any other manager.

Enjoy!

-Hugh

bflynn's picture

[quote="tlhausmann"] My O3 notes for seven directs are in bound notebooks and quite portable. If I had 10 *years* of O3 notes to retain that would be a different matter.

O3s with *all* directs started last fall...so there is not too much, yet.[/quote]

Interesting side question - how long should you retain notes? I don't see much value in having O3 notes 10 years old. Even 3 years old seems like too long.

BTW, I agree with the majority - if permitted, you should take them with you as they are your personal notes. If not permitted, you should ensure they are shredded or burned.

Brian

HMac's picture

[quote]Interesting side question - how long should you retain notes? I don't see much value in having O3 notes 10 years old. Even 3 years old seems like too long. [/quote]

brian - great side question. I agree with you.

My experience is that I don't go back too far when referring to them, but maybe that's because how I'm organized:

I carry a single spiral notebook for everything (meeting notes, planning notes, O3's, meetings with my boss, etc.). And when it gets full, I replace it. (Yes, that makes paging back to find something like a series of O3 notes with one direct report a little bit clunky - but I move around a lot, and don't want to carry more than one notebook. And I can "ALWAYS" find what I'm lookng for :wink: because it's organized chronologically).

I do a quarterly performance meeting with each direct report: we set aside 3 hours, four times a year, on Outlook at the beginning of the year. I prepare for those meetings by reviewing the previous quarter's O3 notes, and the most recent performance plan.

All that to say - it's rare that I need to go back more than a quarter. But I hold on to the notes much longer - because I hold on to the spiral notebooks for at least a couple of years.

-Hugh