Recently, a coaching client of mine in a global 100 company vented about how much time his department spends writing reports that go unread by company leaders. I told him about 5-15 reports. The concept is simple–the report should take no more than 5 minutes to read and no more than 15 minutes to write. Better yet, these weekly reports allow team members to communicate successes without feeling awkward, capture important lessons, demonstrate awareness of next steps, and alert you to setbacks without asking for support.
I first ran across 5-15 reports inGrowing a Business by Paul Hawken. My company was growing 50% compounded annually per year, and I found it difficult to manage information. Responding to similar pressure, Yvon Chouinard, CEO of Patagonia, designed 5-15 reports as an upward and efficient channel of communication. Here’s how they’re structured:
Week Ending: / /
Accomplishments for the week:
[List completed activities and notable accomplishments. In general, what is working? What is your current state?]
Priorities for next week:
[List priority tasks for next week. Be specific.]
[Imagine and describe potential challenges that may impede planned tasks.]
Lessons Learned/Opportunities for Improvement:
[List any areas that may benefit from improvement. What questions are you trying to solve? What is a lesson that you recently learned or relearned?]
That’s it. Short and simple, but effective and efficient.