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A Comprehensive Management Report Example For Business Leaders
Tired of meetings that don’t lead to results? We’ve outlined a complete management report system just for you.
Management reports are vital to the health of your organizational strategy. If you’re a leader in your organization, you already know that. But if your current management reporting system is not delivering value for your organization, something may be missing. It could be the link to your goals, it might be the projects, or perhaps it’s the action items from one meeting to the next.
Whatever it is, you’re probably ready to nip the problem in the bud and get started down a more productive track. Because we know how vital it is for these meetings to run smoothly, we’ve detailed out a comprehensive management report example, based on four key areas. Take a look.
Your goals make up your foundational strategic architecture. Simply put, strategy must be at the heart of your management report format. Measures and projects that stand alone are not helpful for an entire management team unless they have context to ground them. Keep in mind that the evaluation of these goals could be automatically set or subjectively set, based on the person who’s guiding that part of the discussion.
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You’ll want to look at the goals as a whole. For example, what RAG status has been assigned to each? This could be based on the measures that support the goals, the initiatives or projects that support the goals, or a combination of the both.
Next, you need to look at the measures that are supporting those goals. You should have a chart that shows the most up-to-date performance data you can get, which is typically from the previous month. You also need to have a target on this chart to help you visualize your performance toward that goal. You may need additional information on things like benchmarking, competitors, averages, or historic performance, as well. You should be able to set an evaluation or RAG status based upon your performance vs. your target for the period.
Offer An Explanation
Within this section of the report, you need to show some qualitative analysis. This is usually done by the person who is closest to the data, who can tell the members of the meeting what the data is saying. For example, did we miss our target because of a weather event that was out of our control, or did we have a product failure or sales issue? Viewing this data qualitatively will help you determine whether or not you need additional help to reach your target.
Offer A Recommendation
The individual closest to the data shouldn’t just explain what you’re seeing, but should also make a recommendation of what to do next. This could be to continue on the same track, make an adjustment of some sort, bring in additional resources, or prepare yourself for missing your target.
The measures tell you how you’re doing, and the projects tell you what you’re doing. In order to have a functional management report, you also need to include information about your projects (also known as initiatives).
There are four key things you need to make up a project report:
- Start and end date.
- Percent complete.
- Spending to date.
- Any key steps and checkpoints in this project (sometimes known as milestones).
Sometimes, the easiest way to show this information is through a Gantt chart (like the one shown here):
At this point, you have goals, measures, and projects taken care of. They pull together to tell a story of what the meeting is about and what you’re trying to accomplish.
But over the course of the meeting, you need to capture any decisions that are made or any action items that should be taken in the future. Action items are tasks assigned to individuals who are typically in the meeting (and occasionally outside of the meeting). The tasks should have clear deliverables that express what should be accomplished and a set due date that expresses when the owner should complete the action item.
For future management reports, you’ll start with this list of action items from the previous meeting. You’ll need to determine if the group accomplished the elements you thought were important from the previous meeting and push forward from there through the normal goals, measures, and projects.
Pro Tip: Depending on the frequency of your meetings, you may cover all of your strategy or you may cover components of your strategy. If it’s the latter, then you should create a reporting calendar to keep you in line with how frequently these reports should be done (i.e. components 1-3 may be reviewed every three months, and so on). This ensures that you’re still being “comprehensive” in your comprehensive management reporting plan.
Maybe you have a big key focus for the meeting, like a new product launch or a major customer crisis. If so, you’ll want to be sure that the meeting is arranged around that instead of around reviewing regular performance. You’ll still have the same basic structure (like reviewing goals, measures, and projects), but the meeting agenda might be structured differently based on the unique purpose of this particular meeting.
Business leaders: How do you ensure that your management reports stay in line? Share your tips and tricks with us by tweeting @clearpointstrat, and you could see them listed in an upcoming article.