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Tricks of the Trade Venture Partner Series: Executive Report Card – The Importance of Regular Accountability

April 15, 2015
Report Card1

From business intelligence apps to data visualizations, there are buzzwords left and right whose end results are meant to provide a single view for CEOs of what’s working and what’s not at any given moment in time towards achieving their company’s goals.

Sometimes the simplest presentation form is truly the most effective, with an Excel spreadsheet being my go-to recommendation to executive teams looking for a “report card” template to use for their company. If you’re looking for a template for yourself, you can feel free to repurpose the one I’ve built here.

Look at the report card together

To derive value from an executive report card, you must get everyone in a room, ideally every two weeks or with some other regular cadence, and let each person explain their group’s performance for 10 minutes or so. Even if the quantifiable metrics don’t reflect a positive result, there are times when value can be qualified through a brief discussion. By creating a presentation format, you’re also ensuring people come prepared to defend themselves if need be.

Public shaming can be helpful

No one wants to be the person who owns the red sections of a report card. By placing all critical OKRs in the executive report card, you are creating healthy competition that can drive your business forward. Not to mention, if everyone’s areas are in the red then at least you’ll be closer to efficiently identifying a systemic problem.

Informed resource re-allocation

One of the greatest benefits of a single-view report card is resource allocation. If one area is repeatedly coming up short, what can you do to focus on improving that area specifically? What sections are doing so astronomically well that perhaps you could redistribute the wealth, as it were. With a single view you can separate problems, order them and address them proactively before they’ve gone unattended for a quarter or worse.

At the end of the day, CEOs like to have one place to see a company overview and to see that the company is doing well. That need not be the glossiest time-sucking report on the planet. You don’t want your employees to do that, so why should you. These executive team meetings aren’t designed to decide on a new product roadmap or shift corporate messaging, they’re much more simply an iterative evaluation tool for leaders and business segments to reach the final objectives for their business.