By Matt Malouf
Reporting and accountability are essential for you to understand what’s going on in your business and ensure tasks are being performed at the correct time and to the standard you expect. Regardless of the size of your business, having your team report to you regularly will be a great measure of their productivity and inevitably improve yours. Now, don’t stress and think that the reporting I’m talking about is going to be more work. In fact, reporting will be a vehicle that will allow you to:
- Motivate your team members to make regular, measurable progress.
- Answer any questions or be clear on where your team needs your assistance.
- Invite your team to provide suggestions and give feedback on what’s working and not working.
Without an effective reporting process in place, determining whether your team is doing a good job and moving in the right direction can be quite challenging. Many unnecessary conversations and emails are involved, the process takes a lot of time and this can be frustrating. You may feel out of control and uneasy, instead of in control and clear about what’s going on in your business each day.
A good reporting rhythm is essential. I recommend daily, weekly and monthly key reports, to give you clarity about what each person is doing and responsible for, and confidence that these tasks are being performed at the time you need them to be performed.
The daily report is designed to give you an understanding of what your team member has achieved during that day. The report answers these questions:
- What did you accomplish today?
- Did you achieve everything that was scheduled to be completed today? (If ‘no’, please list what wasn’t completed and why.)
- Is there anything you need help with or do you have any questions?
These questions are designed to keep your people focused on the specific tasks assigned to them, and ensure they are performing them in a timely fashion. It also allows for daily open dialogue to ensure tasks and projects are moving forward and not delayed because of you.
The weekly report is designed to be a summary of the week’s activities. Each person needs to report on the success or failure of achieving their key responsibilities and report to you their weekly KPIs. This report will also include answers to the following:
- What was your brightest moment of the week?
- What was your biggest challenge of the week?
- What did you learn in the last week?
- Based on the week gone by I believe we should STOP doing …
- Based on the week gone by I believe we should START doing …
- I need your help with …
This report will form a significant part of the agenda for your weekly meeting with your team. The report is designed to allow you to gauge how each person is feeling throughout their work week, and give you valuable feedback and ideas on how to continue to grow and develop your business.
The monthly report is designed to be a mini 360-degree assessment of the person’s performance. The team member will list each task assigned to them, noting its frequency and importance, the date of their training in the task and the person who trained them. Then the team member, in completing the report, will rate their own performance with a score out of 10 based on their ability to complete the task with 100 per cent confidence and trust.
This report will then be submitted to the team member’s direct manager (which may be you or another manager) for the manager’s own assessment and scoring. Once this assessment is complete, it is essential that a meeting be held to discuss assessment-score variances and how these will be rectified. This will often involve retraining or further system development.
Someone can take the blame for something, but this is not the accountability we are dealing with here. Accountability is, in my opinion, about delivering on a commitment. It’s being answerable or responsible to someone for something. It is essential to your ability to stop doing the tasks on your list that, if you do, someone else becomes accountable for that task or activity.
To achieve this, it is essential to implement the following five steps:
- Set clear expectations. Your people can only be accountable to the level to which they understand what is expected of them. Hence, it is important to be clear about the outcome you want, the time frame they have, and whether you require them to follow a specific system to achieve the outcome, or whether they can choose their own adventure.
- Arm them with the tools of success. Make sure your people are trained and have all the tools they need to achieve the desired outcome – otherwise you are setting them up to fail.
- Create a simple scoreboard of performance. While you may discuss the specific outcome you want, it is important to establish some milestone check-ins and progress reports to enable you and the person performing the task or project to understand clearly whether or not they are ‘winning’.
- Conduct constructive feedback sessions. Open, honest and constructive feedback is essential to ensure your people understand how they are performing. This is made easier by implementing steps 1 to 3. This will at times call for some tough conversations, but remember the only way for your people to get better is for them to understand what they need to improve.
- Establish clear rewards and consequences. Most accountability is ineffective because there are no clear rewards or consequences for following through on what you said you were going to do. If a person has succeeded, they should be rewarded in some way. This could be as simple as acknowledging their achievement, or that if they prove themselves over time it may lead to a promotion. If they have not followed through and delivered on their commitment, and you feel confident you have set them up to succeed, you might need to consider assigning the task or activity to someone else or perhaps even moving the person on.
While this may seem simple to follow and execute, this simple five-step process is often neglected. Please take the time to understand and implement it – you will be amazed at how quickly you see a positive return.