5 steps to earning trust with your boss
Why write a report anyway?
Too many small business shop managers, GM’s and Sales managers run their respective departments without effectively communicating among one another and more importantly the owner. This often leads to REWORK, short falls in meeting goals, lack luster performance and micromanaging. Reporting is often left to bits and pieces of information shared from software data. Rarely is time invested to assess progress, strategize solutions and plan future action to achieve desired results. In other words reactionary leadership and emotional decision making
A Managers report is basically your analysis on a certain situation or particular aspect of the business, such as how a Sales or Production department is doing, trends within the division, as well as past performance that may be helpful in creating strategies and recommendations for improvement. It also demonstrates you are in command of your responsibilities and builds trust with your co-managers and Boss!
How to write an effective report
Indeed, management reporting is a crucial aspect in that it helps and assists owners and leaders in various decision-making. And with the huge significance and role of your report, it is thus important to have it be clear, precise, and concise.
1. Determine scope and frequency
Typical reporting periods are either monthly or quarterly (or both). They should not be too vague or general and should only include specific points and information that may be helpful to the current situation as well as its future strategies. Formulate questions to set the purpose and content of your report. Formulating questions and goals will help you know which and what kind of information should be included (in the report) to convey the health and viability of your department.
- What period of time should I focus on?
- What data or metrics should I include?
- What trends or anomalies are important to highlight?
- What successes have we achieved and why?
- What obstacles or threats are we currently facing?
- Reduce rework by 50%
- Meet 95% delivery promise date rating
- Achieve 50% gross profit margin
2. Create a clear structure
Using a structure helps achieve continuity between the different parts of the report, from the purpose to the main part that includes discussion of business trends, past and present business information, to proposed solutions and recommendations. It also helps you become more organized, and helps ensure that all the necessary information is included in the report. A business report typically includes four major parts: introduction or overview, source data, conclusions, and recommendations. Note – keep it short, I recommend 2-3 pages.
3. Consider your audience
Who you are reporting to is the most important thing that you always have to consider when writing a business report. It is for them that you are writing the business report anyway. Along with having a clear, precise, and concise report, you also need to ensure that your report answers their questions. Thus, it is important that you know why readers need a report. Also, you need to know their position in the company as well as their education level as these will help you know what and which information you need to include in your report.
Also, you may be surprised to know that majority of readers do not really read the whole report. Especially senior level executives and owners! Time is very crucial for these people, hence, a report that is clear and straight to the point, and one that satisfies your direct report, is another thing to keep in mind when writing. If possible, include relevant and important data and resist your personal basis and emotional point of view.
4. Gather data and organize information
Knowing your boss or manager and the scope of your report, you can now gather pertinent data and information. You can either collect information from primary sources or secondary sources. Make sure to gather only the important information, as well as those that answer the questions you set during the first step. Also, you need to ensure you stay within the scope of your report.
Organizing the data and information you have gathered is another crucial point when writing a business report. Keep in mind the report should be written in a clear, precise, and concise way, so the readers easily understand what you are trying to convey. Especially if you are conveying quantitative information like KPI’s (Key Performing Indicators) or statistical data, you may want to use tables, graphs, and charts for easy understanding. Meanwhile, if you are presenting textual information, you may want to use bullet points or number lists so readers won’t get too overwhelmed trying to understand your report.
5. Analyze and prepare your report
This is the part when you may need to apply certain business theories to the data that you have gathered. The information you have should help answer the questions that you formulated during the first step, which in turn helps and supports various business decisions, including strategies and recommendations for improvement, and solutions to current business issues and problems. During this step, you may also start establishing business goals. Based on the data you have gathered, you may include specific actions that can help achieve certain business goals. You may also set a deadline for the goals.
Writing a business report doesn’t have to be hard and time-consuming. Using the information described will make everything so much easier. With these easy steps, you can write a clear and concise report, one that can help you establish credibility and win trust from your Boss reducing the chance they will need to intervene or micromanage!
For FREE sample Sales and Production reports contact John Hackley at Free Reports
Author: John Hackley brings over 35 years of design build sign manufacturing experience to his writing. He leads strategic growth, guides partnership development and serves as Chief Efficiency Officer for Oculus Business Coaching.
Helping sign manufacturers implement systemic solutions to sell more, build better and profit for life! www.oculuscoaching.net