Today I'm coming back from a weeks vacation. My last day was last Thursday, and I had three O3's last Thursday. Today, I have O3's with those same 3 folks, but since I've been on vacation since my last O3 with each of them, I don't really have anything on my agenda. Just basic status updates from each of them on a few things.

Does anyone have any "filler" topics that you use when you know your O3 is going to be very short?

jwyckoff's picture

Oh my, how I *love* having nothing to talk about during O3s! That's when you can ask the really important, non-urgent questions like:

- Overall, how are things going? (from one of the casts)
- Any feedback for me? (from another cast)
- How's the job matching the job description?
- What do you think you can improve in the next 30 days?
- (add any of the questions on the bottom of the M-Ts O3 sheet)

My new favorites:
- What are you noticing? (leave vague could be about anything)
- What can you drop off your todo list? What can you delegate?

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Development! :)


drinkcoffee's picture

Development, yes -- and coaching.

How about talking about what you did on vacation (your 10 minutes)? Ask them what went on at the office while you were away. Connick's questions are all great and I've used them as "filler" many times.'s OK if you don't fill up all of the 30 minutes. It's not about quantity.

techboy's picture

I'm a newbie with 1-on-1s. I listened to the same podcast repeatedly and still unsure of what or how I should be be conversing with my boss. I agree and understand the importance of 1-on-1s being conducted on a weekly basis to maintain open channels. That said, I decided to setup a 1-on-1 with my boss this week.

I actually have a lot of things to discuss with him, but I'm not sure how to approach nagging negative issues and still wrap it up under 15-20 minutes. Of course, I have suggestions to solve these challenges, but how can I approach my boss without coming across as Mr. Negative or Mr. Bigshot who has an answer for everything?

Please advice. Thanks everyone.

thaGUma's picture

techboy. try to prioitise and deal with one, maybe two at a time.
- what changes are essential if the worker is going to stay?
- what changes would provide the best return on effort?
- what changes follow on from other ones?

Don't overload your DR with a long list of failings. Instead concentrate on the prime change and make sure you have a couple of 'easy wins'. Move form one change to the next.


....and I just realised I mis-read... :oops:

jhack's picture

You don't set up one on ones with your boss. If you wish to improve your relationship with your boss, there are a couple of 'casts on that (see the archives January 2006) and the meetings discussed there are very good, but they're not "One on Ones"

You should be trying first to understand your boss: style, schedule, priorities, etc. This will allow you to both prioritize your content and create the right "packaging" for whatever issue you need to bring.

It takes time. Keep at it, and the results will speak for themselves.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

John is RIGHT. You don't set up O3s with your boss. They're for you and your team.


techboy's picture
mjpeterson's picture

You don't set up O3's with your boss, but you can introduce your boss to the idea. If you are lucky, as I was, they will start doing them with you. Even if they don't set up O3's you can always request a weekly update meeting with your boss and come prepared with an agenda to cover the items you want addressed. Then make sure you stick to your agenda and don't go beyond your meeting time.