If you are a leader of a company, division, or department, you probably require reports from your managers at monthly or quarterly meetings. Those meetings have a variety of names: Operating Review. Progress Report. Quarterly Reports. Departmental Reviews.
That’s your manager’s chance to report to you what they’ve accomplished, what they plan to achieve, and their action plan on how to get there.
Usually, there are explicit guidelines on how and what they are to report to you. But what your managers might not realize is that there are unspoken expectations when they report. They may be unaware of the implicit “subtext”.
By subtext, I mean what is implied without being said. And what is expected without necessarily being articulated.
Here’s the subtext that your managers may not fully realize:
- You are listening for how they connect their functional area to your company’s Big Picture. Let’s say they are a marketing manager presenting their latest marketing campaign. You are silently assessing: Are they stuck in their silo focused on the details of their marketing campaign? Or are they connecting their campaign to your financial objectives?
- You are assessing whether they understand the business drivers of any gap between their planned and actual results. Because if they don’t show that they understand the underlying drivers, you worry their actions might be misguided.
- You are listening for their specific commitments: Are they promising specific results by a specific time as evidenced by an observable metric? Or instead are they hand-waving a vague possibility? Crisp precise promises build trust.
So, your managers should make sure, when they are reporting their plans and results in their functional specialty area, they include:
- their connection to your financial goals,
- the business drivers of their results, and
- their commitments to specific and measurable results.