The Power of Progress Reports

 


 

TonyMayo.com-Progress-Report-image Of all the management tools I recommend, one of the most effective is both very simple and very unlikely to be consistently employed—if it is used at all: the written progress report, completed on a consistent schedule.

The power of progress reports to promote results and reduce anxiety is demonstrated daily, on matters titanic and trivial. The U. S. Constitution requires that the President “from time to time give to the Congress information of the State of the Union.” Public companies are required by law to present results to shareholders, at fixed intervals and in specific formats. Schools send regular reports to parents, our GPS tells where we are, and UPS sends a text when a package arrives.

Still, managers and employees resist implementing this simple process.

Why?

Who cares about why? Just grow up and start doing a progress report. Declare your goals. Confront your results. Adjust to living in reality. Enjoy the benefits of clarity while the less disciplined fail and fail in a fog of vague expectations and inchoate regrets.

Before I explain how to format and prepare a good progress report, let’s deal with some common excuses questions.

Q: I don’t have a boss.

A: If you have (more…)

Beautiful Machines

 


Enjoy the videos online of Arthur Ganson‘s compelling kinetic sculptures. In our era of concealed, abstractly-comprehended, and practical technology we can still admire the overt and elegant application of simple gears and levers to accomplishing tasks with no end purpose, only a grace in the doing.

 

 

 

 


 

Improved Goal Thermometer

 


 

Thermometer
I frequently encourage my top executive coaching clients to set specific measurable goals and to chart their progress visually. For example, my free trailing twelve month Excel template is very popular. Download it by clicking here.

Here is an even simpler and more visually striking graphic you can use. Enter your own title, goal amount and current status and get a one page, printable thermometer to display your progress for yourself or the entire team. This is similar to my earlier goal thermometer with the added feature of showing the time elapsed since the project was started.

Click here to download your free copy now. No registration required.

Feel free to share this with your friends and colleagues. Please do not remove my name or web address from the Excel spreadsheet.

 


 

See also Tony’s complete goal setting kit, with audio and workbook,
free on this blog.

 


 

Just me and Stephen Covey



I just noticed an interesting feature on Twitter. Under “Profile” is a “Similar to You” section. Tens of millions of people have Twitter accounts. Every executive coach, consultant, and adviser, it seems, has a Twitter account.

Only one is similar to Tony Mayo. Stephen Covey, best-selling author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

CEO Executive Coach Tony Mayo and Stephen Covey on Twitter

No one else is similar to me, even Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence, though he does subscribe to my feed. So can you.

Top Executive Coach  Tony Mayo and Tom Peters on Twitter


Easy, Free Screen Sharing




Click to try Join.Me It's free!I have been very happy with an easy, free, browser-based screen sharing facility called Join.Me.  That is also the web address: join dot me (not dot com).

I often “dig into the numbers” with my CEO executive coaching clients, sometimes with the help of my free Excel templates (see them here). This tool allows us to see and work on the same screen together though we are miles apart.

Join.Me is so simple, with no software to download or install and no firewall or security issues, that even top executives can use it on the fly.

–join.me – Free Screen Sharing.




Chart Progress with Goal Thermometer

 


 

Thermometer
I frequently encourage my CEO executive coaching clients to set specific measurable goals and to chart their progress visually. For example, my free trailing twelve month Excel template is very popular. Download it by clicking here.

Here is an even simpler and more visually striking graphic you can use. Enter your own title, goal amount and current status and get a one page, printable thermometer to display your progress for yourself or the entire team.

Click here to download your free copy now. No registration required.

Feel free to share this with your friends and colleagues. Please do not remove my name or web address from the Excel spreadsheet.

You may also download an improved version with schedule information, too, e.g., for a monthly goal the thermometer displays how much of the month has passed. Get it for free by clicking here.

 


 

See also Tony’s complete goal setting kit, with audio and workbook,
free on this blog.

 


 

Graph Gross Margin

 


TTM_Gross_Margin

Mytwelve month moving average of your gross margin executive coaching clients and readers of this blog have found my quick and easy Trailing Twelve Month tool very useful. You can download the Excel spreadsheet for free here.

I also encourage my CEO clients to keep a close eye on margins. I have modified the Trailing Twelve Month tool to show monthly results and long-term trends for your business’s margin. The key difference is that since margin is a percentage it makes no sense to look at the sum of twelve months of margins. This new spreadsheet instead shows the twelve month moving average of your gross margin. Download it by clicking here.

 


 

See also Tony’s complete goal setting kit, with audio and workbook,
free on this blog.

 


 

Graphic Knowledge? How Infographics May Mislead

Pop vs Soda for USAWe all see a lot of graphics pretending to portray reality but we need to be cautious consumers of these images. They can bypass some of our analytic, linguistic centers and go right to our emotional brain, often leaving incorrect or incoherent impressions. The chart to the left is an excellent example of a graphic that overstates its case and obscures data.

I am a perennial proponent of graphically presenting financial data, so it was no surprise when a client emailed this graphic to the members of one of my CEO executive coaching groups. It purports to show where in the United States people prefer the words soda, Coke, or pop as a generic term for soft drink. “Soft drink,” of course, is a phrase only a bureaucrat would use in conversation, being a term better reserved for print. I grew-up in the center of “sodaville,” so I have often wondered as I traveled what the norms and borders are.

This graphic is more useful as an example of bad information presentation than as a guide to what to say in an out-of-town restaurant.

Notice that significant portions of the country are 50% or below in usage of the depicted term. Why then are then are these counties given a color very similar to the shade indicating the dominant term? The majority might use some other term for soft drinks, but then the map wouldn’t make it so easy for the viewer to draw (possibly wrong) regional conclusions. Also, why the odd choice of intervals: 30-50 (20% range), 50-80 (30%), and 80-100 (20%)? Suggests some cherry picking of data to make the map seem even more regionally coherent. The underlying data hardly merits such a powerful representation, since it is from a self-selected group of people who visited an obscure web page and bothered to respond, that is, people with nothing better to do. It is not random, scientific, or representative. Look at some of the responses in the “Other” category, for example: “headlice,” “Fizzy Giggle,” and “Kristina is HOT!!!”

A picture is worth a 10,000 words but may convey subtly inaccurate ideas. Stop, look, and think.

Readability — Great Tool for Online Reading




Click for larger image




I’ve been using a fantastic, very simple tool in my web browser. With the click of a button the free Readability software converts a busy screen of small text into an easy-to-read format. Not only is the result larger and clearer, but it is simple to “control-a and control -c” to cut-and-paste the article into an e-mail for sharing with a friend.