One-on-Ones (O3)

One-on-Ones (O3)


This page is about describing the key principles behind the presumable single most effective leadership tool: 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 employee and should be driven by the employee. This page is about the application and adoption of this approach within the scientific context.

Read about it

How we apply this

Applying O3s to the scientific context is challenging (a lot of travel, different projects, industry project priorities, changing staff members, including students, …). Here is how we do it (these best practices might be 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 (~ 7 coachee + ~ 7 coach + ~ 7 together) and use the rest of the time as buffer time or to immediately work on action items (e.g. sending requested information via mail).
  • Schedule all meetings on a single day at the beginning of a week. This also implies to have max. ~ 7 meetings and therefore O3s with students might be possible only on demand.
  • Meet at any place the coachee likes (own office, coaches office, kitchen, outside, meeting room, …).
  • 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 joint Objectives and Key Results (OKR) that have been transparently communicated with the other team members:
    1. Projects -> which projects to work on
    2. Programming -> which assets to implement
    3. Publications -> which papers to write
    4. Proposals -> which proposals to write
    5. Pupils -> which theses to supervise
    6. Presentations -> which slides to create
    7. Perspective -> which career-steps to take
    8. Proactivity -> how to foster intrinsic motivation
    9. Produce -> how to contribute to the team
    10. Purpose -> how to fit activities into the strategy
© 2019 Alexander Willner