09 May The 5/15 Report
Dear Christian Radio,
As the leader of your organization, you’re no doubt surrounded by a team of professionals and specialists who help you get the job done. These individuals are your direct reports. While such terms are helpful when describing organizational hierarchy, as chief decision maker, you should ask yourself if it’s truly accurate. Think hard…are your team members held accountable for their tasks? Are they really responsible for reporting their progress to you? If you find yourself chasing details, asking for frequent updates, and/or having to prod them to accomplish important tasks, then the answer is probably no.
There is a simple solution that can improve both communication and productivity. It begins with you making each team member personally responsible for the tasks you’ve assigned to them. As their supervisor, you will hold them accountable for routinely reporting their progress—or lack thereof—to you. The 5/15 Report is an excellent tool that makes it easy.
What is a 5/15 Report?
The name, 5/15 Report, refers to how leaders want the document created and delivered. It’s a regular report that can be quickly produced by the assignee and easily read by you. The report can be scheduled monthly, bi-monthly, weekly, or even daily for more detailed projects. Regardless of the frequency, it should take you (the supervisor) no more than 5 minutes to read and it should take the writer (direct report) no more than 15 minutes to create.
What goes into a 5/15 Report?
The 5/15 report is an invaluable tool for tracking progress once a strategic plan has been put in place. It is not a substitute for good management. Therefore, you must ensure that each team member thoroughly understands his or her assigned task. Each team member should know the key result(s) you expect from them. They should understand the project’s objective(s) and how it fits into your organization’s mission and vision. Be sure to put all of this in context to their individual goals and objectives for the month, quarter, and year.
Once those steps are in place, team members should have a number of projects and/or tasks assigned to them. Each assignment will be different and objective dependent. Some tasks will be quick one-offs, while others will be ongoing assignments. Assignees will also be part of larger projects with multiple milestones that may intersect with the tasks of other team members. It is here where the report can really help you see potential log jams before they happen.
The 5/15 report will look different for every employee. Even so, the following sections can serve as standard sub-headings for your report:
- Key Result Areas – These are the strategic areas you have identified as critical to achieving success for your organization. These can easily be applied to tasks or projects. Key Result Areas help organizations prioritize their objectives, resources, and people.
- Objectives & Tasks – These are the milestones that makes up the needs of an individual task or project.
- Individual Goals – These are the desired outcomes assigned to team members along with the task itself. This allows you and the assignee to track progress with each report.
Here are a few examples:
A team member in charge of data input might report each week on certain data-driven projects, such as:
- How many names were added to the database that week
- What reports were generated
- The total number of donations booked
- Routine system maintenance
- Confirmation on backups or system upgrades
A fundraiser might list:
- The total number of weekly phone calls and in-person appointments
- Dollars raised
- Milestone tracking—in relation to goals for the week/month/quarter/year
A marketing person could provide status updates for:
- Current marketing projects
- Website page views
- Product sales
Once your team gets started writing 5/15 reports and submitting them on a regular basis, they’ll find them quick and easy to do. What’s more, they’ll feel more organized and in control. When direct reports know they have a standing meeting with you each week, it quickly leads to better planning on their end. They also begin to see their work as something more than a series of tasks as they begin to connect their work with your organization’s goals. That’s where the real magic starts to happen!
Dear Christian Radio…
1) Promote accountability. Implementing 5/15 reports will add focus to your organization’s goals.
2) Set an example. Teach your team the process by creating and sharing your own 5/15 report.
3) Praise early adopters. Share their reports to better promote the concept.
4) Stay involved. Remember: reports are tools, not replacements for active management.