Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
Every year at school I suffered the nightmare of the dreaded school report, which for a solid 10 years said something along the lines of:
‘Richard is a bright pupil, but generally can’t be bothered to do any more work than the bare minimum. For example, in the recent maths test he scored 72/100 despite the fact he chose to doodle rather than complete the last few questions.’
This quote is taken from an old report I found recently. As I didn’t like my teacher, and the feeling was mutual, I was pleased to be reminded of the fun I had in frustrating him at every turn. He hated bright and non-sporty pupils and so it was a pleasure to coast through his rotten test and finally skip into Grammar School, much to his intense annoyance. (He told me in front of the whole class that some pupils didn’t deserve to go and as only two of us had passed it was pretty obvious he meant me. He was staring at me at the same time too, just in case I was in any doubt. That was 38 years ago and I’m over it now and hardly ever mention it).
School reports, whatever our memories of them, are a good example of governance. They provide feedback to parents and in theory allow for success to be celebrated and development areas to be highlighted.
Good business is about many things and good governance is one of them. Leaders and managers need to report on their KPIs each week and make sure the numbers are benchmarked against targets. Performance metrics need to be established for key projects and project timescales and activity reports need to be set up and monitored.
However, in my experience many smaller businesses don’t enforce timely reporting of the numbers. Whilst people may be working hard and looking busy, if we don’t stop to look at the objective performance measures we have little idea of what the business is really doing.
A lack of information can also be a smoking gun to identify which leaders are on the ball and which ones need development. A refusal to complete reports can also reveal who is stressed and who needs support.
Without good governance our business may drift, we can pay for wasted effort, we can overlook poor performance and we can be ignorant of declining standards of customer service.
The numbers always tell a story and without them we are ‘business blind.’
So, this week we can all take a moment to think about how we report on business activity and what we need to measure. Even small businesses need governance and many years ago I decided to measure the number of days holiday I had taken and was shocked to find it was zero, having at least checked emails every day. The numbers were clear – I needed a break.
And holidays are always more fun than maths tests!
Next week: Sleep!
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