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Submitted by archerg on


Hello Team,

Is it always wrong to do O3's with skips?

I started doing O3's with my leadership team and after about 6 months told them I wanted to roll this out to our managers. There are 18 managers and we divided up the O3's between our entire leadership team of five. We rotate managers every 4 months or so.

One leadership team member asked to drop out because she is mostly involved in the IT and Financial side of the company and didn't feel like she was helping on the operational questions. I let her drop out and divided her one on ones between the remaining four people on the leadership team.

The three remaining people doing the O3's are the President, V.P. of Operations and two regional managers.

I really like the relationships that I'm building with each of our managers who are the core reason for our company's success but get the sense that I may be doing something wrong.

What should I do?

Keep the current system where we rotate?

Stop doing O3's with the managers?

If I have to stop doing weekly O3's can I switch to monthly?


thebeezer's picture

It will be easier to help if we understand how you are structured.  I applaud your pushing this and suspect there really isn't any way this could be "wrong", yet it can probably be more effective.

archerg's picture
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1. President - Responsible for entire company and annual reviews of the strategic leadership team

2. Strategic Leadership Team - 4 people (President, VP of Operations, CFO, CIO/Controller) 

3. VP of Operations - Responsible for operations of 18 locations and does the Annual review for all 18.

4. Regional Managers - 2 people who support the VP. They don't have direct reports and don't do  annual reviews. The VP decides when, where and how they will support him.

My organizational structure is in transition because of growth. The VP of Operations has become less effective. We intend to divide up the 18 locations between the VP, and the two Regional Managers. Giving the Regional Managers responsibility for a certain number of managers and their annual reviews as well.

I feel like the company is still small enough for me to continuing doing O3's weekly until I have built a decent relationship and then transition to a monthly O3 that is more like an individual skip level. Eventually, as we grow I can begin to combine the Skip level meetings to include more people. I want continue to do weekly O3's with the new managers that we hire in order to build a relationship. I only expect growth to be 2-3 new stores a year.

The only downside that I could think of is that my directs may eventually feel like I am stepping on their toes. I don't currently have this problem. If a skip comes directly to me with a  problem or question I always direct them back to their manager and it has been working well.

thebeezer's picture

Again, I don't think anything you've been doing is wrong.  It's great that you're focused on building relationships with the key members of your organization.

One thing you may want to think about is how to use O3s to build up your bench for the future.  You also mention that your VP of Operations is becoming less effective.  Consider putting each of your Regional Managers over 9 locations and have them do the weekly O3s and annual reviews for their locations (with the VP Ops being a second level approver for them all).  You could then solely have the VP focus on developing the Regional Managers, as well as new location managers as they come on-board.

There's no reason you can't continue to do skip-level O3s to stay in touch with the field.  Your concern about being viewed as stepping on toes seems reasonable to me, so I'm not sure that weekly O3s that many levels down are the best use of your time.  I'm speaking as a big-company outsider though so that's certainly not an informed opinion.

I'd also strongly recommend that you review the "Rule of 150" casts that were just recently posted if you haven't done so already.  It talks about the challenges of growth and how to manage the transition. 

Good luck!

archerg's picture
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Thank you for the advice.

It is time to make a decision on organizational structure and I have been struggling with creating more levels because we have been so flat for so many years. I have listened to the cast on 150 and that really started to push me to make some decisions. Just want to be careful. The choices I make re: structure will inevitably become institutionalized and part of our culture so I want to focus on staying lean now.