In elementary school we were continually reminded of the three Rs – reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic. Let’s update those for leaders seeking success to reporting, rhythm and relevant.
First, what are we reporting or asking our team to report on? If most of those indicators lagging (e.g revenue, products produced or number of inbound leads) instead of leading (e.g. number of discovery meetings book/held, raw materials on order or content produced) we will likely be far off course on our corporate goals before we get that data.
Second, where are we recording or reporting this information? If it’s in a shared database/ERP/CRM and we don’t have a common language around how activities and opportunities are recorded we and our team members will waste significant time pulling and rearranging data to fit specific reports.
Third, is the reporting highly visible? There are arguments for and against publishing dashboards for everyone in the team or company to see, but in the experience of the leaders we support, if their team members don’t have their personal dashboard where it can be easily seen then their reporting becomes more like “burial” – out of sight, out of mind.
Pearson’s Law, attributed to mathematician, Karl Pearson states, “when performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates."
A consistent reporting rhythm, locked in everyone’s calendars, combined with tracking mostly leading indicators gives us early warning signs that we or a team member is drifting off course with enough time left in the month or quarter to course correct.
Best practices for our clients in their reporting rhythm is individual check-in/out weekly with each direct report, a group check-in (which may be your best meeting of the week) and, a sales funnel review meeting. The latter is ideally done weekly, but some of our clients in longer sales cycle businesses manage with a twice monthly or, in rare cases, once per month funnel review.
Neither the rhythm nor the reporting matter if the latter isn’t relevant.
That begins with us as leaders. Look at the data we’re seeking from our team members and from the business overall and ask ourselves if those data points are relevant to achieving our corporate, and more importantly – personal, visions or are they vanity numbers that will make us feel great about bragging on them, but don’t necessarily take us closer to our personal mountaintops.
Equally as important, making the data we’re asking for, and targets we’re expecting from, each of our team members relevant to them and achievement of their personal goals, which is their true motivator. If not we could fall into the trap of malicious compliance (doing an activity because we’re told to) or perverse incentives (e.g. unintentionally causing our salespeople to make bad prospecting calls because we’re asking them to report on the number of dials they make each week).
When our reporting is relevant and done in a regular rhythm, we’re likely to reap (positive) rewards we couldn’t imagine previously.
Until next time… go lead.