Q: What is 3Q?
3Q is a three-question, monthly, 10-15-minute, check-in with each person who reports to you — regardless of status.
The three questions are easy:
1. How are you doing?
2. How are we doing?
3. How can I help?
What’s not so easy is nurturing the trust that turns simple questions into real engagement. This is where the system comes in, with the 3Q Coach who goes over your check-in notes in a once-a-month private call. [See more at How Does 3Q Coaching Work?]
Q :: Who is 3Q for?
#Q is for people who lead people — and must, therefore, deploy, direct, guide, manage, evaluate, affirm, correct, reward, recalibrate, train, develop, promote, and God willing, retain as many of those people as possible.
If you can answer two questions ...
1. Who do I want to develop?
2. Who do I not want to lose?
… then you’re the sort of leader who will see quickly how 3Q can help you increase alignment, improve performance, and extend the length of time until you must replace your most valued employees or volunteers. [See more at Results]
Q :: Are there really only 3 Questions?
Yes. Three questions, and a whole bunch of ways to keep them fresh. We can help you learn to 3Q people in a way that’s engagingly evergreen, because 3Q Check-Ins are not magic — we know how they work, and you’ll come to understand that as well — and they’re never meant to trick or manipulate anyone (If that’s what you’re looking for, best move along … nothing to see here ... these are not the droids you’re looking for….).
Q :: Is it really just half-an-hour a month?
Yes, it really is just half-an-hour a month for each of your direct reports.
Monthly 3Q Check-Ins run 15-20 minutes.
Followthrough communication to confirm your understanding of anything you agreed to pursue after the meeting might take five more minutes.
Describing the check-in to your 3Q Coach could conceivably take another five.
25-30 minutes by our clock.
Q :: When am I supposed to use 3Q?
Part of what makes 3Q work is that the check-ins are scheduled reliably and consistently: I can rely on you to check in with me — outside of planning sessions, budget reviews, brainstorms, and other operations meetings — every four weeks or so, all year long.
If we identify an obstacle or opportunity inside the check-in, that may not be the best time to address. Or maybe it is… it’s your call.
Q :: If I become a 3Q Leader, how many people do I have to 3Q?
That’s totally up to you and whoever you report to, if anyone.
3Q Check-In is a distribution system for attention, and the whole system is designed to distribute significant attention to everyone who reports directly to you. If you have too many direct reports, trying to 3Q them will make that clear(er) after two or three months.
Q :: How often am I supposed to check in with my 3Q Participant(s)?
Schedule 3Q Check-Ins every four weeks or so, apart from other operations meetings.
If 3Qing precedes or follows another meeting with a Participant, it may be useful — in the early stages at least — to make a hard break by moving into a different chair, or excusing yourself to grab a beverage or stretch your legs. Distinguishing 3Q Check-Ins from other interactions establishes that they are not afterthoughts or formalities.
Q :: How does 3Q Coaching Work?
If you’re a 3Q Leader, once a month, an outside 3Q Check-In Coach will go over your check-in notes in a private call. Your coach will help you identify ways to support those you lead or manage.
Your once-a-month 3Q Coaching call is likely to take around 20 minutes, give or take.
Q :: How often am I supposed to submit 3Q Notes to my Coach?
Submit 3Q Notes to your Coach in advance of your phone call each month.
Just so you know, notes on each question are meant to be no more than — and can easily be far less than — 100 words. Your coach reads your notes looking for patterns, flags, shifts and trends, not details. If they’re noteworthy, you can talk about details in your call.
Q :: Who else sees my 3Q Check-In Notes?
Your 3Q Check-In Notes are meant solely for your 3Q Coach.
If you write that an employee or volunteer made threats, your Coach will ask you about that to ensure that you have taken prudent steps to protect life, health and property. It’s conceivable that your notes might subsequently be of interest to law enforcement or insurance investigators. But that’s just common sense — under normal circumstances, your notes will be seen only by your Coach.
Q :: Can I use 3Q in my personal life?
Of course! We don’t recommend giving friends and family the impression you think they somehow report to you, as this is an almost surefire way to produce turnover in the circle of friends and family willing to spend quality time. But, with that warning sticker, more than a few 3Q Leaders and Participants report that the questions, and the spirit that animates the questions, seems to leak naturally into interactions with people they care about … not because they want to manage those people — heaven forbid — but because it becomes natural to really mean it, and really listen, when they ask:
- "How you doing?"
- "How are we doing" (which really means, "How do you think and feel I'm doing with pulling my own weight in this relationship?") and
- "How can I help?"
Circling back around to the warning sticker, no one wants to feel like a project, and this really must not be used in an attempt to manipulate people you love. If your 3Q experience produces a genuine and respectful spirit of tangible care for those you care for ... and if they accept it as such … then, cool!