It’s no secret that I work with corporate clients who want improve the quality of the report writing coming from their teams. Michael, a new audit client three months ago, told me it takes so much time to make sure his team’s reports are effective, he ends up editing their reports from home after he puts his kids to bed. And with summer coming, he was not looking forward to spending sunny evenings at his laptop.
We discussed his report review process, and it was clear to me that he could take some simple actions to reduce his time investment AND empower his team to write more effectively in the future.
Putting Strategies into Place
I shared my top strategies with Michael and now the results are in. His review time is now significantly less after only three months. He still has to review the reports and suggest edits (it is a process after all), but he is very pleased that his team is writing clearer, shorter reports.
Feedback surveys on his team’s performance, which included the content of the reports, are now meeting the department’s KPI. His team is more confident and motivated because they don’t get reports full of ‘track changes’ edits. And best of all for Michael personally, he had a great summer with his family.
Practice Ensures Long-lasting Success
If you want to spend less time reviewing your team’s reports so you can get to the tasks (and family activities and hobbies) that are important to you, then try my proven strategies. It takes commitment, but it will lead to long-lasting change:
1. Get clear the ‘why’ of your purpose and your reports.
It sounds simple enough, but it may be time for a quick chat with your team so they are absolutely clear on why the team is doing what they do, and what the reports are intended to achieve.
2. Share the pain.
Openly discuss the pain points in the current writing process. Sharing the impact of what is not working will help your team see the need to take action.
3. Create a shared report-writing goal.
Share your vision of how the report writing process should work in the team. Get the team’s input, and then come to an agreement about how you’ll improve the process together. Set milestones so you can celebrate successes, large and small.
4. Empower your team with the right tools to make a change.
It’s one thing to ask your team to change and improve. You also have to help them by giving getting them the tools they need to get it done. This may mean more of your time mentoring them, creating writing accountability partners within the team, and hiring a report-writing specialist to help them fill the gaps.
5. Assess progress regularly.
Track the improvements you see in their writing as well as your review time per report or per team member. Celebrate the wins and then focus in on the remaining pain points with a targeted approach.
Do you want to reduce your report review time and empower your team to write more clearly and concisely? My next International Audit Report Writing workshop is taking place on November 23 & 24, 2015, in Heidelberg, Germany. Early Bird prices are available for a limited time.