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Hi all,

Any experience on when almost all directs are remote to you and all on different locations from eachother?
I am thinking fixed vs. some type of semifixed schedule, how close do you REALLY get using video 8-9 times out of 10 (could be helped by using semifixed times and travel?), try to adjust visiting your directs according to one-on-one schedule, etc.

Thanks,

Bjorn

WillDuke's picture

No problems doing O3s over the phone. I do 'em all the time. :)

Mark's picture

Comparing phone or video O3s to face to face ones is a false comparison. The comparison is to not doing them. yes, they're not as good. Neither is that distance wonderful., but it's there.

They'll work great.

Mark

Bamsematt's picture

Thanks both. Always nice to get confirmation about what you do is good. :D

There is no doubt that I willl continue the O3s over video, phone and face-to-face. I am trying to find an even more effective way of doing them. I am phisically on the same location as my directs about once every 3rd to 6th week. Rarely on the date when we have the O3 scheduled... :o

Have you tried scheduling your one-on-ones to fit your travel itinerary and adjust every week?
Or have you tried setting up 3 different timings on three different dates during the week for each direct. You will then use the half-hour that is most appropriate. For me that would mean 21 fixed half-hours spread over the week which sounds crazy.
Having a bunch of ideas will hopefully give me one good idea. :mrgreen:

Bjorn

JorrianGelink's picture

If possible set a time and date on your schedule, phone the person you would like to O3 and let them know if an appointment you've set up for them would work for them based on their schedule. What that does is when you phone and they hear your voice they say "Hey! This guy cares about me and called me specifically to see if he can sit down with me!" That way when you do manage to visit them in person, there are no "tiedowns" or barriers to get in your way as it is already booked time.

If that is not possible I believe using video conferencing or vocal communication still helps, a lot of O3's are there to gather and help develop, but it is also there to show you care about that individual and their development.

madamos's picture

I have 12 direct reports and only 4 of them are actually in the same office as me.
I conduct my O3's over the phone for those that are remote. If I happen to be in the office on the same day as the scheduled O3, then I will conduct it in person. Otherwise I will wait until the scheduled time to have the O3. It would take too much effort to try and move O3's around to fit when I will be in the direct's office location.
When I am in the direct's office location, I do make sure to spend some time face to face with them either during the work day or for dinner or drinks after work.

MadAmos

Glenn Ross's picture

I agree with Mark.
1. O3's are better in person, the sin is in not doing them.
2. I've found that the gap in quality between in-person and phone is not as great as people think.
3. I've managed people remotely for more than 10 years and my team was tops in performance two years running. That happened after I put more emphasis on effectively communicating and listening to my directs. I would suggest that you find other ways to communicate besides e-mail and O3's. For me, that would be IM and picking up the phone and replying in voice instead of by email.
You can successfully and effectively manage from a distance. Not doing O3s on a regular basis by phone or in person is like driving a five-speed car without ever shifting above third gear. You'll get there eventually, but it'll be a lot slower, nosier, and you'll probably burn out.

HMac's picture

I too do a lot of O3's remotely - mostly by phone, sometimes by video. When doing it by phone, make sure to keep your antenna tuned for signs of multitasking (for example, slightly longer-than-expected pauses before they answer, the sound of typing, etc).

When I'd hear these clues with a direct, I wouldn't call them out on the first instance. Rather, I'd finish whatever I was saying with an immediate: "What do you think?" or "What's your recommendation?" (Any question is good, just make it open-ended, so they can't simply respond with a singe word...).

They picked up on it pretty quickly!

And it probably unecessary to say, but make sure YOU'RE not the one who's multitasking! :)

Glenn Ross's picture

Hugh, that's a darn good idea. Also, I'm borrowing your message in your sig block. :D

Glenn

HMac's picture

Mutual Admiration Society: Glenn, in the middle of your response was a great line about picking up the phone instead of emailing all the time. That's huge!
and about my sig block: some days, I'm reduced to [u]begging[/u] for it. :lol:

MsSunshine's picture

Two thirds of my 03's are on the phone. So, I do a couple of things to give them verbal clues when they are missing something from not being in my office. (I do have a camera but can't always use it.)

1. Sometimes I need to pause to write something down. I specifically tell them to hold on a minute while I write down a note. (The idea is that they know why I'm silent. Then I say I'm ready to continue.
2. Sometimes I do need to look something up - not often. I tell them that I have to bring up a document for a quick answer to a question.
3. I take my notebook and have the phone positioned away from my computer. I'm looking at the chair where they would be sitting if they were here.

lmoorhead's picture

I have three directs in Bangalore, and I (as well as the remainder of my team) am on the west coast of the US, so there is a 12.5-13.5 hour time difference between us and no time when we're all in the office. Face to face O3's happen about once or twice a year...I guess that's 95% or more of my O3's happening remotely? Adding on to the practical tips offered by MsSunshine...

- Make sure you have a quiet place to conduct them. When there is any kind of language barrier, I find it is absolutely imperative to listen closely, and eliminating any possible distractions helps.

- I have scheduled our O3's so that they occur during their business hours, and after my daughter is in bed so it works for both of us. (Talk to your directs and find out what works for them. For our team meetings, we trade off, one quarter it is during US business hours and the next in India business hours.) Depending on your situation compromise may be required here.

- For all scheduled discussions, O3s, team meetings or otherwise, we have a dial-in number we use. My team frequently has issues with power outages or poor cell phone coverage and this way if someone loses connection they can call back from another line if needed. This seems to work better than "I'll call you/you call me"

As budget allows, the more frequently you can get someone in to your office, or get yourself to them, the better.