It’s Time To Tame Your Reporting Monsters

There are monsters lurking in the shadows of your organization, hindering your reporting. Are you ready to get rid of them?

Manager & Tennis Player


Do you remember going through corn mazes as a child? An autumn classic for many, corn mazes are fun for some and maddening for others. Now, what about the haunted corn mazes? Around Halloween, they would fill up with goblins, ghouls, and zombies with chainsaws, ready to chase you around if you made a wrong turn. As a child (and even as an adult), they were certainly scary!

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this offbeat analogy. Well, would you agree if I said reporting can be a whole lot like those corn mazes? (Bear with me—it’s not as big of a jump as you might think!)

Going through the reporting process is like entering a maze every month, quarter, or year. It’s chock-full of complications, twists, turns, and dead ends, but eventually you find your way out. But when you have monsters as co-workers, lurking in the shadows, haunting your every move, the reporting process goes from exhausting to terrifying.

Even if you feel like your reporting process is fairly streamlined, I’ll bet you can think of a co-worker (or employee) or two who fits the bill. There are individuals in every organization who make the reporting process more difficult. After 20 years in this industry, I’ve come across plenty of them. Based on personal experience (and the experiences of my colleagues), we’ve identified the main four reporting “monsters”: Complex Chris, Doubting Deb, Forgetful Fred, and Siloed Sarah.

Each monster has a key negative quality (hence their names) that always makes the reporting process more difficult. Here’s a little about each of them, some of the problems they present, and one of the many solutions that may help them through their issues.

Meet The Monsters

1. Complex Chris

Chris acts like his job is to pick the most difficult route to get a job done. He is quite proud of his complex processes and sees no reason to make them less complicated (much to the dismay of those he works with). Chris feels important and needed when others have to rely on him to understand the complex reporting issues he’s created.

To combat Chris’ complexities, send out pre-reads of the reports. This will prepare everyone for what they’re going to see in the meetings—whether it’s good or bad—as to not take any of the management by surprise.

2. Doubting Deb

Deb never feels very comfortable with the numbers that are presented. She is the first to speak up about her uncertainties—which is actually one of the only things she talks about. She voices her concerns so often that everyone in her department has a tough time staying on the right track.

To help Deb stop doubting and feel more confident, be consistent with your reporting structure. Present all of the information clearly and consistently—this will give Deb a way to measure and compare every field in the report.

3. Forgetful Fred

Fred is always offering to help out with an initiative or idea during meetings, but he never follows through. His co-workers can’t decide whether he really is forgetful, or if he’s simply sucking up to the boss. Either way, Fred makes it very difficult for things to get accomplished.

To encourage Fred to follow through without forgetting, be sure to have clear accountability. If Fred “forgets” to complete the task he was assigned, make sure he’s held accountable.

4. Siloed Sarah

Sarah doesn’t see any reason to step outside of her comfort zone. Knowledge makes her nervous—and she doesn’t see how sharing ideas amongst other silos is helpful in any way.

To help Sarah step out of her silo, create cross-functional teams. This will force her to communicate across the organization, which is the best way to help her overcome her fear.

Ready to get rid of your monsters?

We hear you! But in order to get rid of the monsters in your organization, you need to, first, be able to identify them, and second, be armed with an arsenal of helpful tips and suggestions for overcoming them or helping them. To help you on this quest, we’ve created 44 Tips To Tame Reporting Monsters. Check it out!

It’s Time To Tame Your Reporting Monsters