One-on-Ones (O3)


This page is about describing the key principles behind the presumable single most effective leadership tool (that works in both directions!): one on ones (O3).

Generally, one on ones are supposed to help people to live up to their potential. O3s are dedicated time slots for the coachee and should be driven by the coachee. This page is about how we apply and adopt this approach within our context.

Read about it

How we apply this

Applying O3s can be challenging (a lot of travel, different projects, industry related priorities, changing staff members, …). Here is how we do it. These best practices are being extended and modified over time:

  • Meet weekly and have it scheduled using the calendar (skip the meeting if someone is traveling, move the meeting if needed using the calendar).
  • Meet for about 20 minutes (>=1/3 coachee + <=1/3 coach + ~1/3 together) and use about 10 minutes as buffer time or to immediately work on action items (e.g. sending requested information via mail). The initial O3 might take 60 minutes.
  • Schedule meetings in the afternoon so deep work can be done on the morning (others schedule all O3s on a single day at the beginning of a week). More than ~ 7 meetings / week might be too much and therefore O3s are usually done only with a selected set of people.
  • Meet at any place the coachee likes (own office, coaches office, kitchen, outside, meeting room, video conferencing tool, …).
  • Write down minutes with a pen (analog or digital). A complex todo / ticket system is not needed.
  • The process should focus on reducing Muda, Mura, and Muri (e.g. avoid waiting times).
  • Every three month review and refine expectations following the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) that have been transparently communicated with the other team members. This holds true for both directions (also the coachee should have expectations towards the coach). Some examples:
    1. Projects -> deliver what is needed
    2. Programming -> develop on our assets
    3. Publications -> write papers, blog posts, tweets, …
    4. Proposals -> get funding for our strategic goals
    5. Pupils -> coach younger co-workers
    6. Presentations -> clear communication of your work
    7. Perspective -> discuss career-steps to take
    8. Proactivity -> foster on intrinsic motivation
    9. Produce -> contribute to the team
    10. Purpose -> fit activities into the whole strategy