Want long-term growth? Go beyond the 4-quarter performance reporting. Keep more than 5 quarters in your chart; this helps find patterns.
How do you project performance?
That’s a perennial question for any executive looking to make a mark.
What should performance reporting contain in the first place?
Great stats? Achievements? Proof of having trounced competition?
All of these might reward you with a pat on the back but there is more to it. Let’s understand what makes a good and relevant performance reporting.
Showcase performance in a succinct and insightful manner. How do you do that? Go beyond the usual 4-quarter performance. Although, the yearly report features 4-quarter performance, you should go beyond these quarters.
Because you are unlikely to find patterns and trends by observing just the 4 quarters.
For a CEO to make sense of performance, s/he requires an overview of what is actually happening over a longer period of time. For example, performance over the last 8-10 quarters is likely to give a more realistic picture than that over the last 4 quarters.
Move beyond positives.
If you really want to impress your CEO or even the board, move beyond the positives. Point out where the company has suffered and the reasons behind that. Highlighting achievements is good but your ability to point out the shortcomings and improvement areas is what will create the difference. Do not worry about what the CEO will say as you point the shortcomings; you are all in it together!
Prompt the right questions.
Project stats and useful information from the market in such a way so as to prompt the CEO to ask the right questions. Know that your reporting is less about receiving momentary accolades and more about projecting a realistic picture to the CEO.
A realistic picture of where your company stands in terms of performance, its stand vis-à-vis competition and market will prompt the CEO to ask the right questions. These questions will lead to more fruitful discussions that will enable better decision making and a chain of actions to help company move forward in the right direction and achieve its goals.
Remember, performance reporting is a means to an end and not an end in itself. Tomorrow is a new day and you are back to business. Arm the CEOs with relevant information, insights and stats to help find patterns and trends. Look to set the company on a path to achieve its long-term objective and you’ll be making a difference.