Licensee BadgeTraining Badge
Submitted by k.wright on


Not sure if this is the best place to post this question but I THINK it is!?

I'm a relatively new director (within the last year) with 2 managers, each has 3-4 supervisors below them and each sup has 8-12 Field Service Engineers.  We were recently acquired by a much larger company (700 employees to 70,000 employees) and as you might expect rumors are running rampant, lots of feelings of disconnected-ness, etc. In conversations with my managers I'm flabbergasted by some of the things that the sup's and below are asking as I "thought we talked about that" but obviously the message isn't getting across.  We're planning a meeting next week with my managers and supervisors to talk about things abit more.  This got me thinking about starting a regular cadence of skip meetings.  

I've been reading about skip level meetings and just listened the first podcasts "Skip Levels".  I was always under the impression that skip level meetings were essentially occasional one-on-ones with your skips (in my case, the supervisors).  Listening to the podcasts it appears to be more of a group setting.  Is this how you've done your skip meetings?  I know that we don't want to do weekly "Skip one-on-ones" but are quarterly skip O3's acceptable?  Too much?  Anyone have any thoughts about remote skips?  We are scattered over the country and 100% remote.  

I'd like any insight anyone has to this as my work scope is about to expand...with a couple additional manager/directs and some supervisors and more technicians.  I feel like I need to get this right.  

What'cha got brain trust?

By the way, I'll be at the M-Conference next week!

jrb3's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Go to "Map of the Universe" link.  In the search box, type "town hall".  That podcast, and a few of its peers there in the same category about skip-level meetings, might be of interest.

Also might browse through whatever comes up for "communication plan".  Click the "Get Started" link on this page's header, then type into the "Get Answers/Search" entry-box and click the "Search" button.  eg the first hit for me was show-notes for "Managerial Communications" podcast of 17 January 2006.

Also might want to consider browsing (or even working through) the podcasts under Map of the Universe | "Executive Management".  I don't remember seeing anything specific to directors among the podcasts, and I don't know how close you are to that point.

Random thought:  is there a need to re-emphasize managers are communicated through?  Map of the Universe | Hall of Fame | Communication | "Managers are Communicated THROUGH"

AmandaChase's picture
Admin Role Badge

Hi Kevin! 

Looking forward to meeting you at M Conference!

Okay, let's talk about Skip Level Meetings. These are group meetings, and these are meetings between a boss and his directs' directs. In your case, you and the supervisors. Here is the podcast link for the meeting itself:

Their purpose is to improve communications by (a) providing the senior manager a forum to communicate deeper and differently to his or her organization, and (b), more importantly, to allow skips to ask questions.

We never recommend Skip Level One On Ones, short answer is because they undermine the relationship that your direct has with their direct. However, we do have a podcast that can go into a more detailed explanation:

I agree with Joseph that Town Hall Meetings would be a good option to have for multiple levels in a meeting and that everyone can attend. Also, Joseph was spot on with his other recommendations too, because we know we all need to communicate more. 

Have a great day! 

k.wright's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Thanks Amanda, exactly the info that I was looking for.

PhilipR's picture

Here's the part that I don't get, as an IC: Career Tools gives the rather sensible guidance that everything skip reports say in a group meeting with their skip-level manager should be positive. Sure thing!

So then, if the only qualitative info flowing to the skip boss is from their own direct and from a highly-filtered meeting with that person's directs, how does the skip boss know what's going on? That makes two levels that are highly incentivized not to talk about problems, so what's the point of the of the Skip meeting exercise?

Granted another source of data is observables -- employee retention, team deliverables, etc. Obviously that kind of data is the real bottom line but it seems time lagged and dependent on a good baseline of data. If half the skip directs leave within 6 months because of the direct/manager, that seems a bit late to fix the problem, no?

j3snyder's picture
Licensee Badge

I have used the Manager Tools suggested format for quarterly skip levels, and they work great. The first meeting with each team is always a little awkward as the employees aren't sure what to expect (even with a pre-printed agenda). It's one of the best ways I've seen to quickly build a level of trust with skips. The meetings are especially helpful for teams that I am less familiar with.

All you need to do is pull up the show notes for that podcast, and follow the agenda.'s picture
Training Badge

Where can i find this agenda?

AmandaChase's picture
Admin Role Badge

Hi Kevin, 

In the podcast: 

At the beginning of this podcast they start by talking about the layout of the agenda. If you have a license and access to the shownotes, it is also written out there. 

Hope this helps!