Every manager needs to schedule time to reflect on the current week and to plan for the upcoming week.
Some people like to do this on the weekends or on Sunday nights. I’ve done that in the past until I figured out that working all the time wasn’t sustainable.
Now I schedule this time during the workweek. For me, Friday afternoon is the ideal time to review the current week and to plan for the upcoming week. I have a permanent 2 hour window blocked out on my calendar for this.
Here’s what I like to do during this time:
Prepare my Weekly Report for my Boss. I’ve used a number of formats for weekly reports. Generally, I use whatever format my boss requires. That said, I’ve learned to minimize the administrative time in creating my weekly report by working with my boss to identify what content is most valuable. A weekly report should take less than 30 minutes to create. If it takes longer, you are doing something wrong.
Here are some tips to help:
- Keep it as simple as possible and try to limit yourself to 1 page (see image to the left).
- Keep the format consistent week to week so your boss knows exactly what to expect and where to find it.
- Think like your boss. What info helps him the most? It’s usually tied to bookings, forecast and red flags for areas that need his attention (remember to limit these requests).
- Your boss usually doesn’t care about the details of your daily activities. If you are reporting on these, chances are he never reads them anyway. Ask him if you are not certain.
- Create a spreadsheet to keep track of your numbers week over week. Create a new column or tab for each week. This keeps useful historical data at your fingertips.
- If you create your report manually in MS Word, keep a folder with every report archived by date. Create this week’s report by editing last weeks.
- Create Dashboards, Widgets and Reports in your CRM so you can easily update the numbers in your weekly report. Ask your Sales Ops person or Excel guru to help automate anything that you do repetitively.
My favorite weekly reporting tool is 15five. It’s a cloud based system that enables a manager to see all of the reports from his team, offer visibility to others, and provide feedback via an Apple Messaging type interface. We used it for reporting, collaborating across teams, and weekly 1-on-1s. I ran a team that had 3 levels of management reporting to me plus over 100 sales reps. It was extremely valuable to us. Check it out for yourself here.
Send a Weekly Update Email to the Sales Team. I use a consistent format for this. It will include a realtime update on the Big Rocks (Bookings, Pipeline, Activity), Action Items and our performance to date covered in our Weekly Sales Meeting. I’ll call out any areas that need attention, action or review. I’ll include expectations for the upcoming week. Lastly, I like to close with the funniest thing I heard a rep or customer say that week,a comic, or a joke. Then I’ll wish everyone a great weekend.
Plan for the Upcoming Week. Since I’ve just completed my Weekly Report and sent my Weekly Update, I have everything I need to plan for the upcoming week. I’ll review my 3 Big Rocks. I’ll see if there are any Small Rocks I need to address, and I’ll review my calendar for the upcoming week. Before I leave for the weekend, my desk will be cleared, my inbox empty and my plan for next week ready to go.
Make My Rounds. Once the above items are done, I like to visit with coworkers who are not on my team, stop in to chat with other managers, and spend a few minutes talking to people who I haven’t had much time with recently. I started this habit of “walking around the office on Friday afternoons” by visiting with the customer service reps and the consumer sales reps back in my dotcom days. For me, this is my opportunity to see how others in the company people are doing, to pop in to thank them for something they did that week, give them visibility with Senior Management (me), and offer to help when I can. This is a fun and relaxing activity for me. I have been surprised how valuable it’s been.
Chat with my Sales Team. Finally, at the end of my rounds I’ll hang out on the sales floor with my reps. Most are winding up their week as well by this time- doing admin work, preparing their weekly reports, and clearing out their email. Now’s a time for small talk, I’ll share things I’ve learned from others in the company and we’ll just hang out for a bit.
Now Go Home. When this is finished, I go home – early if possible, and if not early then on time. Weekends are for family, pets, friends, parties, exercise, or whatever relaxes and recharges you.
If you are fortunate enough not to be required to work on the weekends, I encourage you to take advantage of this time to enjoy your life outside of the office.
By following the plan outlined above, you’ll be ready for Monday morning when it arrives.