As we are a small company, we all have a part in the process for the majority of our client engagements. Due to the nature of our process and our small team, client projects often are touched by many of our team. It’s imperative for us to have a detailed process and reporting methods in place to make sure none of our clients fall through the cracks and that they are seamlessly passed along our team for the next step in their engagement.
It is also necessary for us, internally, to have reporting methods in place as Colleen is not involved in the day-to-day operations of our clients. And she shouldn’t be. Her focus is on new business and managing her own client projects. Yet, many of our clients think she is the go-to person since they had the initial call with her. So, as much as we try to remove her from the day-to-day operations, she still needs to know things are being taken care of and the status of certain projects.
And now that I have more responsibility overseeing our team and more client projects, I too, see and recognize how important reporting up is. It’s not a form of micromanaging. It’s so that we don’t have to ask the same dreaded and annoying question: “Where are we with ___?” multiple times a day. We just need to be kept in the loop.
Reporting up is a simple concept and necessary to implement. It’s the practice of providing updates, being CC’ed on emails, and acknowledging tasks and their completion. Since Colleen or I am usually the ones asking for something to be done or an action to be taken, it’s still in our brain taking up space. It’s on our radar, spinning around in our brains UNTIL we’ve been CC’ed on the email, the task has been acknowledged, etc. It’s about silencing the noise. Once the noise is silenced, we can use that brain power for other more important things.
Here are a few tips for implementing a “reporting up” system if you do not already have one in place:
- Being BCC’ed on the initial email. Ask your team to blind carbon copy you on the initial email. This makes you aware that the email was sent, and that action was taken without then being copied on every email thereafter.
- Make morning or afternoon check-ins. A quick 5-minute update on project statuses helps you start or end the day by silencing some of the noise that you would otherwise think about during the day while you are trying to get your own work done, or in the evening when you are spending time with your family or friends.
- Implement a project management system. We use Airtable to track client projects, all statues, and dates of sourcing. While updating Airtable daily or weekly may be tedious, it keeps everyone in the loop. Colleen can easily go in and see the status and sourcing dates and is now up to speed in a matter of 30 seconds.
The more you create clear expectations, encourage and expect your team to report up, the better they will become at it. It has to become part of the process for everyone’s sake. If your team helps to silence the noise, then you won’t be constantly asking those annoying questions. It’s a help me, help you situation.
What methods do you have in place for reporting up? We’d love to hear!