Mark recommends not rolling out O3s and the feedback model at the same time. Does this advice apply to new managers and their new directs as well? I want to start conducting O3s with my new directs right away to get to know them better. And if I don’t give feedback to my directs in my first 12 weeks, how can help my directs adjust their behaviour according to my expectations?

The quote below is from Mark’s book:

This is perhaps the most important concept in the rollout guidelines. You cannot effectively implement the entire “Management Trinity” all at once. It's too much to take in at one time. Your directs won't be able to absorb all of it. They won't like all that change. When there's too much change, none of it will proceed very well (Chapter 6).

TSchow's picture
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For what its worth I have followed both Manager Tools (MT) model and before I found them the wrong model. My first attempt was instant postive and negative feedback. I do not believe my directs appreciated the negative and would only work when I was watching. 

Later I would praise in public and reprimend in private only after about 6 months of building the relationship. Depending on what the individual contributor was doing I would also praise in private, but always reprimend in private, which worked much better.

I do recall from one of the podcasts MT stating it was 6 months with a new employee and he had not given any negative feedback. I had the equivalent of a VP not make any changes for 3 years before he started to make changes. I suspect to be effective it really depends on enviroment, and relationship.

Any new position I would wait a minimum of 3 months of nothing but praise before I gave any negative feedback.

opser's picture


I believe new managers can start O3s shortly after they start  leading their directs. In the podcast on new managers, the advice was not to make any big changes and rather focus on collecting data on your team and work. Starting O3s, however, can be considered as a data collection exercise, in addition to relations building tool.Do you think this is an accurate interpretation of Mark’s points?

@Tschow, I understand you suggest giving ONLY positive feedback during the first three months—in the form of “when you do X, Y happens, thanks”. Does this mean that one should simply dismiss unwanted unproductive behaviour, such as missed deadlines, late arrival to meetings, during the first three months? I agree that positive should be more frequent than adjusting feedback. But not providing any adjusting feedback might cause wrong perceptions about quality expectations, right?


opser's picture

Also, there is a podcast where Mark makes the case against praising in public and criticizing in private. 

CarlCoach's picture

You're right. This is indeed so. I support your opinion.

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@opser From the podcasts that I have reviewed recently Mark made the case against only praising in public and criticizing in private. I believe the idea is to manage perception of our interactions with our subordinates so that if we have a closed door meeting we give both positive and negative feedback. 

In most of these podcasts there is an assumption of professionalism ie people are on time to meetings and want to be productive.

If this was my team I would have a meeting to establish our deadlines, and set expectations (meeting dates and times). (This is not giving any positive or negative feedback its just leading your team). If people dont show up or are late have a one on one to findout why, but dont stop the meeting or review for them just continue on.

In the individual development (one on one's) I would have the individual review first job fundamentals, and go over performance expectations (where they need to be, and what needs to be done, no negative feedback given). This is also a good time for the individual contributor to explain if there is something you migth not know about that is interferring with them getting to where they need to be.

opser's picture

We are discussing two things at the same time because I didn’t make myself clear. 

My original question was about rolling out the trinity for new managers. Should we follow Mark’s advice by the letter or can the advice be adjusted for new managers? If a new manager starts with conducting O3 with her new team, should she wait for 3 more months before rolling out the feedback model? If so, should she simply not give feedback during this period?

My second question, which was merely for illustrating my original question, is answered. Thanks! You suggest expecting basics of professionalism from our directs. When basics of professional behaviour are not exercised, such as not respecting deadlines and meetings start times, you advise trying to understand the reasons without providing feedback. I respect your advice and consider incorporating it to my practices. Nevertheless, I’m still not 100% convinced of the effectiveness of not providing feedback on non-professional behaviour—within first or twenty first weeks of my new management role.

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This is a stylistic solution.

In summary. Yes, a new front-line manager can use both O3 and Feedback where warranted just beware of the relationship, and changing to much. I would give positive feedback where warranted and use Ugly Baby Feedback for negative situations for the 1st 3 months.

In most environments I would follow his model by the letter, but in many of the podcasts MT does mention they do everything within the frame work of ethics. I can assure you not all environments are ethical.

Productivity is an ethical problem, people are paid to create something (which covers deadlines and showing up to meetings). From your comments it sounds like you might have an ethics issue to deal with. MT can be applied, I would do so cautiously. To much change and the successful part of the team might disintegrate.  

Whoever applies the tools in various environments needs to understand the bounds of the tool, and the environment they are trying to apply the tools. Overly simple example we cannot use a screw driver as a pair of pliers. This application comes with experience and school of hard knocks. 

Giving feedback is necessary for effective management, and I would use what’s called the "Ugly Baby FeedBack" on an individual basis for unprofessionalism to help align expectations within the 1st 3 months. This is not negative feedback (in my own opinion). It is just encouraging effective behavior by showing the individual contributor what they are doing (ineffective behavior) and what is effective behavior, and possibly what some of the impacts to ineffective behavior are (promotions, pay raises, preferential assignment).

Did I answer your question?


opser's picture

Thank you very much for your comments!