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 related priorities, changing staff members, including students, …). 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 (~ 7 coachee + ~ 7 coach + ~ 7 together) and use about 10 minutes as buffer time or to immediately work on action items (e.g. sending requested information via mail).
  • 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 to much 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, 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 an asset
    3. Publications -> write papers
    4. Proposals -> get funding for your own and your team
    5. Pupils -> use students to get support
    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