As you will see from this article, I am getting a little stir-crazy working from home. Have you ever over-analyzed the approach to using reports/dashboards in an organization?

I have and here it is. Today’s thought is about using reports to manage a group. Using a report to “manage” a group is usually the first mistake.¬†Reports should be a shared resource that helps the group, and their manager, direct their actions to the desired outcome that benefits the business; not a way to coerce or push a group in a certain direction.

Oftentimes reports are created and never used. When they are used they are looked at but no distinct decisions are made from the reports. It becomes a habit:

  1. Open the report
  2. Look at the report
  3. Get more coffee and go back to emails.

Is this you?

The first question you should ask yourself, about a report, is what decisions will be made that lead to the desired outcomes for your business? If you don’t know, you don’t need the report.

If you have determined what decisions will be made based on the content of the report, you must communicate, to your team, how the report will be used. This includes the decisions that will be made based on specific report data thresholds and how those decisions improve the business.

If you don’t share this information with your team, the report becomes a club that gets used without them knowing why. This means that they will struggle to understand why you are frustrated with their performance. This frustration, soon to become disengagement, occurs because they don’t understand how they are getting measured. You might even assume they don’t “get it”. This is your doing and needs to be fixed by communicating the purpose and use of the report with your group.

If they know how the report is used, you will see them making smart choices about how they work to support the better outcome of the report and the decisions made from the report. If you are measuring the right outcomes with the report, their smart choices will lead to better outcomes for your business!

How many reports are in your inbox, right now, that you will look at without specific decisions coming from them?