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 Hello,

I need some advice please.. I am currently managing 13 Direct Reports. 11 on-site and 2 remote. This will probably grow to 15/16 in the near future due to taking over another area of responsibility. I am currently dong one-to-ones once a month, but it is not enough to get a clear picture of what is going on on a daily basis. 

I was thinking of introducing weekly status reports which will mean that each DR will send me the following information every Friday:

1. What was planned for this week

2. What has been achieved this week

3. What is planned for next week

4. Risks/Issues

I am hoping this will help me to get a better handle of progress of various tasks rather than chase people up as I am a bit struggling at the moment... 

Any feedback/comments or any other ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks

Alex

rwwh's picture

 There are good reasons (mentioned in the casts) why manager tools have *weekly* one-on-ones (only very exceptionally every two weeks). Instead of making them monthly, concluding that it doesn't work, and then looking for other solutions, you should try to have real one-on-ones and build a true relationship with your directs. 

alexush's picture

 Thank you for you comment. I agree that one-on-ones is a great tool and definitely helps building relationships, however I feel that having weekly one-on-ones with 16 directs is unrealistic. Wouldn't you agree ? 

Many Thanks

Alex

tlhausmann's picture

] Wouldn't you agree ?

No. Do weekly one on ones. It will probably take more than 30 minutes of your directs' time to write up their weekly report for you AND essential issues would be conveyed efficiently during the O3 meetings. In my view, you would be time *ahead* and your group would get more done with O3 meetings with you...once per week.

I have managed 12+ personnel. Weekly O3 meetings plus weekly full staff meetings are quite manageable.

stenya's picture

Absolutely agree with these answers - setting aside 8 hours each week for 1-1s will be the best investment you make. It only seems like "too much" time because you haven't seen the rewards yet! I encourage you to try it. 

I had weekly 1-1s with 15 staff members, plus a 90-minute weekly staff meeting, and there's really no better way to understand what your team members are working on, what their challenges are, and how you can help. 

-Chris

 

alexush's picture

 Thank you very much for your feedback. I will try that.

mike_bruns_99's picture

To second the others, do the weekly O3's

It may not be recommended, but I do have my directs give a "brief" end of day email.  If it takes them 5 minutes, they're doing it wrong. 

This is NOT a substitute for the weekly O3's, just a daily touchpoint.  Here is an actual one from yesterday (with company and project names changed)

===================================

 Today

 -project x updated schedule
- company y conference call
- quote for company z special product 
- tech support for company R
 
Tomorrow
- work on task 123 (Due 2/26)
- finish task 456 (Due Tomorrow)
 
Issues
- Project 123 will probably go over-budget.

flexiblefine's picture

Isn't there a podcast about weekly staff meetings? Here it is: Part One, Part Two

It sounds like a staff meeting is the right venue for those kinds of status reports, while one-on-ones are about something else.

flexiblefine
Houston, Texas, USA
DiSC: 1476

alexush's picture

 Thanks flexiblefine, We run weekly staff meeting which includes our colleagues from North America and there are lot of people present (up to 25), so although we are covering major projects it is quite difficult to get an update on everything people are working on.

I agree that one on one is probably the best way forward

Herctek's picture

Alex,

I had about the same makeup of your team 12 on site and 1 remote and I tried to adjust the O3 frequency to Bi-Weekly and found that it was nearly as bad as not having them.  In my experience I found that a weekly O3 was the best frequency (hmmm where have I heard that guidance before)...it just works. 

I establishing a weekly Team Meeting with just my organization (my 13 directs and myself) gave me the freedom to set the agenda and organize to the benefit of my team.  This is where I provide a management update (ensuring that the entire team received the same message) and the team provides individual updates where they inform me of their status and can collaborate and ask for guidance/help from their peers and myself. 

At first it felt like it was a lot of time invested, but it ensures greater results.  But where better to spend my time but with my directs and their effective results.  Between individual O3s and a 90 min team meeting (this time is required for all the updates) it was about 8 hours out of 40 or one day a week. 

The results were evident in a short time and it gave me 4 days in my week for me to focus on my assignments.  Try it out and see if it doesn't have the same effect for your situation. 

Best of Luck,

Brad

rayagarcia's picture

Alex,

For the past five years, I have been requiring a simple weekly status report (top four accomplishments from previous week, top four priorities for the coming week, other issues/risks) and conducting weekly 1 on 1's with my directs.  I currently have 10 folks (4 on site, 6 remote), but I have done it with as many as 17 directs with 10 remote DR's across 3 time zones.  I am now leading a support team for industrial control systems, but I have also used these tools with a group of project managers and engineers.

The time you invest in weekly 1 on 1's will definitely pay out, especially when doing performance appraisals at the end of the year.  You simply have to make that kind of investment with at least your remote DR's to keep them engaged.  It averages out to one day a week, but if you are a supervisor shouldn't you be spending that much time with your directs?

My weekly status report has evolved from the simple text email, to an email form, to the Survey tool in SharePoint which I have been using for about three years.  The SharePoint Survey has been the most effective way to consistently gather the information.  I've found that I don't spend as much time chasing down email reports from DR's anymore.  I also publish a compendium of all the weekly status reports from my DR's and distribute to the rest of the team, our internal customers, and my leadership.  I simply download the responses to a spreadsheet, filter for the current date, and print to a PDF that I email out and save on my SharePoint. 

I have received a lot of positive feedback from my leadership and customers on how well I am able to stay informed and engaged with these two touch-points each week. Just stay disciplined on both efforts.  I hope you find this to be helpful for your team's success.

Regards,

Ray

 

alexush's picture

Hello, Thank you so much for your feedback and ideas. I will be starting my weekly one-on-ones shortly. I hope this will be beneficial to both myself and the team..  Just one question. do you spread O3 across the week or try to squeeze them into mon-tue ? 

Thanks

 

Alex

rayagarcia's picture

I keep Monday's open for other meetings and planning, then schedule O3's on Tuesday & Wednesday.  However, as fluid as weekly schedules are, I have found myself rescheduling and doing a full day of O3's back-to-back on some weeks.  But that's fine because those days turn out to be some of the most valuable all-day meetings that I attend.

Good luck with your efforts to keep your team engaged!

Ray