Do you want to look professional when you send out your business report, but you’re not certain what it should entail? The good news is there is no “correct format” for a business report. The right format depends on your company, your day-to-day work environment, and how much time you have.
Unsure how to determine the best format for your company reports? This is a common concern for our clients, and every time we recommend a 5-15 report.
What are 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. Many managers are under the false impression that longer equals better, but the truth is no one wants to read a needlessly long report.
The simple, 5-15 report format allows you and your employees to stay efficient, catch up on the negatives and positives of the week, and bring up any nagging concerns.
Better yet, a weekly 5-15 report allows team members to:
- Communicate successes without feeling awkward
- Capture important lessons
- Demonstrate awareness of next steps
- Alert you to setbacks without asking for support
Who uses 5-15 reports?
Entrepreneur, Paul Hawken, talks about how he used 5-15 reports in his book Growing a Business. His company was growing 50% compounded annually per year and Hawken was finding it difficult to manage information. 5-15 reports helped Hawken gain a better grip on his employees’ day to day without being overbearing or excessive. They also gave employees a voice and a way to connect or work through related business issues.
Responding to similar pressure, Yvon Chouinard, CEO of Patagonia, designed 5-15 reports as an upward and efficient channel of communication. This helped to keep everyone on the same page and set priorities for the following week.
5-15 Report Example:
5-15 reports can help you uncover varying issues or opportunities. While there is no right or wrong way to write a business report, make sure your report aligns with what you’re hoping to relay and uncover by sending one out.
During our executive & management coaching sessions, we help clients uncover what they want to get from sending out these reports. Workload issues? New & lost clients? Employee ideas? We then help our clients determine a report structure that will relay important information and extract updates from their team to increase performance and resolve overall issues.
To get you started, here is the basic structure of a 5-15 report:
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?]
Wondering what else you could improve on in your day-to-day schedule?
We help clients uncover their potential as a leader to feel confident in daily tasks and develop a strategic plan for company growth and other critical responsibilities.
Our team would be happy to guide you through our leadership assessment to discover ways you can improve as a leader and increase the efficiency of your workers. Take the assessment now!