The Five-Fifteen Report

Normally “Doc” articles would refer to a technical style of report. However the Five-Fifteen is a long-standing goal setting and time management tool used by managers and team members to touch base each Friday. It takes 15 minutes to prepare and 5 minutes to read, and can revolutionize office productivity and relationships.

Fast and effective is the focus of this gizmo. If it wasn’t, it would be quickly tossed aside into the pile of failed management tools we’ve all tried before.

A Little History

The original concept of Five Fifteen was created over 20 years ago by a fellow named Paul Hawken of the Smith and Hawken gardener’s store. I received it from a sales consultant, and my neighbor, Virden Thornton, and I’ve morphed a version of it to work for us here at NCI. I’ve mixed it up with a few Steven Covey principles and use it myself each week and tie it to my monthly Roles and Goals. Take a look at it and see if it could be helpful for your organization.

Many of us have studied and searched for a long time to find a simple to use tool that could enable us to improve the way we interact in our businesses to get the work done and help us reach our goals. This is one of the simplest and most effective tools out there. It cost nothing, but pays big dividends.

A number of business managers and time coaches have adopted the tool to suit their individual programs. Here’s what it does:

1. The Five-Fifteen is an easy to use management report, and it takes very little time to complete. The report gets and keeps team players on the same page and maintains a constant flow of essential information. It enables managers to receive simple written reports and return comments, praise and atta-boys back to team members completing the report. It works because it’s so simple to use that anyone can commit to it and be able to continue using it with minimum effort.

2. The report provides a weekly format through which team members can effectively summarize their accomplishments for the past week and share plans for the week to come. To be most effective, each of us needs to count something, so the five fifteen is driven by a few key performance indicators.

3. The Five-Fifteen is a living agenda. The appeal is that each team member creates their own agenda for the week and shares it. It becomes the focus of the work and gives constant support and reference to inner office conversations and discussions because everyone gets on the same page as these reports are shared.

The Five-Fifteen report is sent as an email each Friday and consists of several sections. For example:

KPIs

The first section of the Five-Fifteen is each person’s Key Performance Indicators. Included are a few numbers representing tasks that are regularly accomplished in a week that provide a barometer used to measure each person’s accomplishments.

Most jobs have patterns to them. These patterns are built around the primary tasks of the person’s job. It takes some time to develop personal Key Performance Indicators but each job has them. When performance is measured, performance improves, especially when a team member willingly accounts for performance weekly.

As Dominick Guarino’s tag line in his email has said for years, “If you don’t measure, you’re just guessing.” Measuring your own performance eliminates the guesswork about where you stand with your job.

Tasks Completed this Last Week

List the tasks and projects you actually completed. Bullet points are fine. Personally, track these daily and keep accomplishments in a hand written notebook on my desk and review them each day, then total them each Friday. This provides a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

When considering what to include, think of the Steven Covey glass jar analogy for time management. Imagine a large glass jar as you plan your week. It’s filled with large rocks, pebbles and sand. But the only way to get them all into the jar is to put the big rocks in first, then pour in the pebbles that fall down between the rocks and then lastly, pour in the sand to fill in all the little spaces between the pebbles. If you put the sand in first (the small unimportant things) the rocks, (the important things) will never fit.

When preparing the Five Fifteen, team members type the big rocks that they completed during the week. It’s OK to throw in a pebble or two if they have had a hard time getting them done and are happy to have completed it.

Goals for the Following Week

Look to the week ahead and decide what you reasonably would like to complete by the following Friday and write these items in the Five Fifteen Report.

Consider first deadlines and tasks that others are depending on you to accomplish. Take a look at regular job duties and fit stretch goals into in the big picture for the week. Also consider what you would love spend your work time doing, and write a few fun goals, if time permits.

Take care to always remain reasonable in your weekly goals. Doing this week after week soon provides a clear picture of what you can reasonably accomplish and what you cannot reasonably get done. The reality of having to look your goals straight in the face each week is a valuable learning exercise.

So, there you have it

To summarize:

• It’s a simple no cost tool that will take 15 minutes every Friday afternoon to use.

• The Five Fifteen is sent weekly in an email.

• First count and report several Key Performance Indicators of your choice.

• List the rocks, or most important things you accomplish the previous week. Compare what you accomplish to what you said you would accomplish the Friday before.

• Then list the primary tasks or projects you wish to accomplish the following week. This will provide focus and clarity come Monday morning.

• This is easy to use and becomes a little addictive over a short period of time and brings immediate rewards to everyone involved.

For more information and to see how many successful people have benefited from and use the Five-Fifteen report, simply Google “Five-Fifteen.”

Rob “Doc” Falke serves the industry as president of National Comfort Institute an HVAC based training company with technical and business level membership organizations. You can contact Doc at [email protected] or call him at 800-633-7058. Go to NCI’s website at nationalcomfortinstitute.com for free information, articles and downloads.

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