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First, I apologize if this takes a MT topic off course. I sense that the relationship-building benefits of O3s probably apply to other important relationships, and I couldn't find any other posts that asked this question.

I recently began holding one-on-ones with my team at work. I have found them to be remarkably powerful, although I've only used them for a few months now. I'm thinking about how I might apply this general concept within my role as a father (I have 4 boys, aged 9 and younger). Has anyone used O3s with your children? If so, what would I change from the general guidance for O3s with direct reports? I'm sure the approach could vary somewhat with the age of the child, etc.

I've asked around a little bit and haven't found much of a consistent theme, although many parents I’ve asked do employ some kind of [u]informal[/u] one-on-one time with each child. But then again, I was informally talking with my team at work before starting O3s and didn't see the big benefits until I started meeting with them formally.

Just trying to cast a wider net to folks who are familiar with the concept and might have some experience to share.

jhack's picture

Check out this thread:

http://www.manager-tools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2425

My 2 cents: Your family is a very different entity than work (you can't fire your children, for example, or resign to go join a better family). Don't try this at home...

...but do spend one on one time with your kids.

John

tcomeau's picture

Mark warns [url=http://www.manager-tools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2425]in this thread[/url] that management is a highly specialized relationship that does not map well to families.

I would add that this has become more true as the family unit has become dominated by the institution of hedonic marriage -- as the role of the family has changed from a center of production (as is typical in agricultural or small-craft societies) to a center of consumption.

The relationship I have with Teela (I'm Teela's dad) is entirely different from even the closest relationships I have at work. Unless you're in business with your kids, you need different tools.

tc>

buhlerar's picture

Thank you for pointing me to the other thread. Obviously the message comes through loud and clear that tools for managers and tools for parents are quite different.

That being said, I don't think too many people would say the mgmt trinity has [u]no[/u] correllary in a family setting (again, different tools may apply, but certainly [u]some[/u] tools apply). So perhaps the exercise is less compare and more contrast -- but even to contrast you need to be familiar with both comparables.

Again, maybe I'm on the wrong forum and I should go to iVillage or something, but I figure I'll find more parents here than I will find effective managers elsewhere.

One example -- if I repeatedly plop down on the couch and watch American Idol with my wife, sure we're spending time together, but eventually she'll ask "Why don't we ever go out on a date?" So perhaps the question is how to establish formal time together. Seems the formality itself sometimes promotes the importance of the relationship. Also, formality seems to ensure that the communication does occur.

Thanks again for your posts -- clearly I don't want to implement the MT stuff lock, stock & barrel.

tcomeau's picture

[quote="buhlerar"]
...I don't think too many people would say the mgmt trinity has [u]no[/u] correllary in a family setting (again, different tools may apply, but certainly [u]some[/u] tools apply).

...

One example -- if I repeatedly plop down on the couch and watch American Idol with my wife, sure we're spending time together, but eventually she'll ask "Why don't we ever go out on a date?" So perhaps the question is how to establish formal time together. Seems the formality itself sometimes promotes the importance of the relationship. Also, formality seems to ensure that the communication does occur.

[/quote]

The things that underly the trinity -- relationship building, feedback and support for learning -- are common to many types of relationships. The Manager Tools toolset are designed to address those elements in a specific way, oriented around a particular type of economic transaction. In fact, I believe that even in the workplace the Manager Tools practices don't universally apply. (You can't fire somebody with tenure; you can't write a goal that says "discover dark energy.")

Taking half an hour a week at a consistent time works, at least with adults in an environment where things are normally scheduled. Telling your kid "Okay, time to bond. You get the first ten minutes!" is more likely to be confusing than helpful.

Communication with directs, in a business environment, is actually pretty easy. Managers only get into trouble when they don't do it! There are better, clearer ways (like MT goals) that make you more effective, but you aren't struggling with anything more difficult than how to accomplish (in detail) business goals that somebody else is setting.

Families are harder. Communication is harder, but more important. It's an entirely different discipline from business communication.

Take your example: It may be that the "date" your wife wants is to watch American Idol, without the kids. Communication is how you'll find out what she wants, but you can't count on her to show up with a six-point prioritized agenda. If you give her feedback on the lack of an agenda, you'll be lucky to find yourself sleeping on the couch. You can, in fact, resign to find a better family: My wife used to be a divorce lawyer.

I have a view on how to evaluate the importance of a relationship, but it's not a view I get from Manager Tools.

tc>

akinsgre's picture

I think I heard this in a lecture by Jeffrey Pfeffer. He wondered about GE's forced ranking.. If it's so great for business, why aren't we doing it in the family.

4 kids? Spend all your time with the top one, ignore the middle two, and give the bottom one up for adoption.

;-)

buhlerar's picture

Tom, I really appreciate you spending time responding to my question.

Greg, funny.

Not sure if this topic will receive additional commentary, but so far sounds like the answer is "important question, answer not found here." Like you said, Tom, MT practices may not universally apply, but it's sure nice to have a solid starting point to adapt from (and I'm assuming you agree with the tools generally or you wouldn't be on this forum).

I guess in a way it points out how helpful Manager Tools is. It would be nice to know whether any resource similar to MT exists in the parenting space. Not because there isn't plenty of advice to be found (nor is there on management). Just so little focus on specific behaviors and often so little evidence to support the recommendations (again, it's probably out there somewhere, struggling to distinguish itself).

Maybe there's a business (or at least a marketing) model in there somewhere.

Thanks again for your input.

tcomeau's picture

[quote="buhlerar"]Tom, I really appreciate you spending time responding to my question.
[/quote]

Hey, that's why we're here!

[quote="buhlerar"]
I guess in a way it points out how helpful Manager Tools is. It would be nice to know whether any resource similar to MT exists in the parenting space. Not because there isn't plenty of advice to be found (nor is there on management). Just so little focus on specific behaviors and often so little evidence to support the recommendations (again, it's probably out there somewhere, struggling to distinguish itself).
[/quote]

Ah, well, the problem there is that there are so many ways to parent, depending on what you value in and for your child.

Manager Tools is about effectiveness, and for most of us the measure of effectiveness is centered around money. Perhaps not about making the most money, but certainly about being as effective as we can manage (pun intended) with the money we have. Mike and Mark have both been very effective managers who have paid attention to what works. They focus on behavior because it is neutrally observable, readily changeable, and can be objectively evaluated.

For parents, behavior is only part of the issue. Polite kids are easier to be around, but that's not the only, or even best, reason to teach kids "good manners." Parenting is also about values, and different parents have different, occasionally very different, values. To pick three nonrandom examples:
[list]
- Some parents insist that their kids should wait for lifelong marriage before becoming sexually active, which is something I would not wish on my daughter. Though she needs to wait a few more years.

- Some parents want their kids to embrace a particular set of beliefs about the purpose of life, and the role of a supernatural agent in making life choices. Some put that at the center of their lives, others avoid it entirely.

-Some parents still cling to the notion that inflicting physical pain on their kids will make them better people. (The idea that the same is true for wives has mostly been eradicated in the US, but not entirely, and is still popular in many places around the world.)
[/list:u]

These questions alone are enough to send people to entirely different sets of resources.

I'll share that I follow [url=http://www.parenthacks.com/]Parent Hacks[/url] which is mostly aimed at the parents of younger kids, [url=http://blog.wired.com/geekdad/]Wired's GeekDad[/url], and a few others that are not safe for work. PM me if you'd like the unsafe list. :twisted:

tc>

adragnes's picture

In the previous issue of Scientific American Mind magazine there was an [url=http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-secret-to-raising-smart-kids]art... on how important it was to focus effort (i.e. behaviour) and not intelligence or ability when you give praise to children. Sure sounded familiar.

--
Aleksander

sklosky's picture

buhlerar,

My answer to your question is simple.

If your children are a priority for you, then they must be on your calendar. Block time to spend with them, both individually and as a group.

While this is not a structured 03, its a similar tool / mechanism that flows from that family of tools.

Not sure if this is relavant, but I usually block this time around activities. Recent examples include ice skating, cycling, and the golf driving range.

Cheers,
Steve

WillDuke's picture

M&M have repeatedly stated their belief in the importance of family. I've met Mark's daughter and she's a wonderful person, so he must know something about parenting.

I think one corollary with MT would be consistency. Your directs need to know what to expect from you. Your family needs to know what to expect from you. Get home at an expected time. I think it was M&M who said to sit down and let your wife know about the coming week. I know they suggested scheduling a stop time. Schedule in the important events and don't miss them.

As for O3s. I don't know. I can tell you that every Friday my two and a half year old daughter spends the afternoon at the office with me. Is it an O3? No. Is it a regular appointment? Yes.

I have a lot less parenting experience than others here in the forum. I used to hear a term "management by walking around." I don't know how effective that is as a manager, but it sounds pretty good as a parent.

ramiska's picture

Depending on the age of your children, portions of the feedback model, properly modified, can be helpful.

Offering consequences to actions, rather than "because I said so" can be powerful. My kids are still too young to be rational, however so I can only speak hypothetically.

bigstory's picture

I like the fact that you are looking to build stronger relationships with your kids. My resistance rises somewhat at using the MT approach.

What I have found is that there is no substitute for time. My daughters get a date or some One-On-One time, intentionally, pretty much every week. I aim for 90 minutes to a couple of hours on average. However, it doesn't always look intentional to them. "Hey Sue, I am going to run a few errands. Want to come along and we'll add a hot chocolate and a donut at the end?"

My kid love this. I usually have a couple of simple questions, like, "How is school?" Who's your best friend these days?," "or just "How's life?", but usually conversation evolves pretty naturally from there, especially once the habit of spending time is established.

They used to say, "It's not quantity time but quality time that matters." What I have found is that if you give them quantity, the quality emerges on its own, and is treasured. If you go only/directly for quality, you run a good risk of losing both.

My .02

- Gordon

nathanseiling's picture

The one thing that I have taken out of one-on -ones that can translate into a family environment is that people feel important when you spend focused time with someone. My wife and I have 2 half hour drives together where we purposefully discuss things about work and leave it in the car when we get home. I have proposed to my wife that we have one 1/2 hr "tea time" discussion with our kids. No phones, distractions or interruptions. A few weeks ago we all (kids are 9 and 13) wrote anything we were happy about or wanting to change. The one thing we all said was more focused family time in the way of board games. I think that if we take the time as well as game night to just let them talk and to talk back with them that we can build a strong foundation for the future. No real agenda during the talks, but in the same way that Mark H says that if you think that you as a manager asking how your direct "how was your weekend" has the same weight as " How was Johnny's soccer championship game on Sat go?", you are sadly mistaken. Too often we ask "how was school" and think that is enough. I want to know my kids better.

Mark's picture

And don't forget that kids don't have our attention span.  Some times 5 minutes is plenty - because to them it's a lot, and you might be surprised (from what I've seen of most parents) how much you can chat about in 5 minutes.

I don't do one on ones with my kids, unless they're working for me (at least in part because it's such a specific thing, meant for work).

Mark

nathanseiling's picture

Thanks for the perspective. You are right, it is not about a set, rigid time, it is about being there for them when they need it

Nathan

raylea's picture

An interesting note on this topic:  some years back I read Stephen Covey's book on Effective Families, and he suggests a structure that appears very similar to the O3   Regularly scheduled time when the child can count on getting you to themselves.  Additionally the parent is to use the time to question and to listen but to refrain from comment unless asked. This environment promotes communication from the child in the absence of judgement.  I'd love to say I use them, but it's tucked into my "things I know I should really be doing...." compartment.  Cheers,  Raylea.