Do you regularly chair team meetings? Do you find yourself frustrated with controlling those meetings? Perhaps you have issues with certain individuals? This may be a possible solution for you and your team.

I have been participating in a lot of group work recently and it has made me reflect back on the times when I used to facilitate team meetings in the work place. These rules are transferable to any type of meeting and will help set the ground rules. They worked for me and I’m sure you will be able to adapt the concept for your own team too.

Rule 1

Turn Up On Time

Rule 2

Listen whilst someone else is talking

Rule 3

Listen with the intent to underst and, not reply

Rule 4

No bad language is allowed

Rule 5

No idea is a bad idea

Rule 6

If you have a problem, please follow up with a possible solution

You’ll notice that none of the rules are complicated. As the chair of the meeting you have to lead by example…so make sure you follow your rules too.

Applying the rules

What I did to apply the rules was print them out on A4 paper with a big font size and display them at each meeting I chaired. You could do the same with your own version.

You could also ask your team to put the rules together themselves, and if you know what you are looking for you could guide them through the process.

What would you do?

  1. What else would you include on the list?
  2. Do you think this is too simple?
  3. Do you think it would help your meeting run smoother?

Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to be awesome!


I was reminded this weekend, after having a conversation with a group of friends, of a piece of great advice that my old boss gave me. She would say to me that “…you have to pick your fights”. I’m sure she will remember this conversation and, from interpreting her at the time, I feel that she learned this through being the one who had to/needed to st and up and challenge the changes that were taking place in the organisation at the time…partly because no one else would.

Without getting too deep into it, this is something that I feel a lot of people still have to learn.

As a manager or a business owner you may come across team members who constantly challenge every single implementation or change you make in your organisation. This can become very tiring, and eventually you may stop listening to them. This will most likely be due to getting tired of having to deal with the constant issues, and it eventually becomes a kind of ‘boy who cried wolf’ situation.

This initial advice is not for business owners as such, but for team members within organisations and businesses. Pick your fights carefully, pick out the things you want to challenge because you feel strongly about the associated issues. Be constructive, be knowledgable, be informative, underst and the bigger picture of what might be taking place and most of all show respect – note: respect is a two way street!

My advice for business owners whom find themselves in this situation is to find a positive way to deal with issues like this. You have to do something to solve this issue if it exists, otherwise you will struggle to implement changes and get the full support that you may require from your team. A few options that spring to mind: –

  1. It may be that some team members require more information than others in order to underst and WHY the organisation is making changes – give them what they want.
  2. You may have to have a private conversation with some team members in order to get them on side and begin to support the changes you are making. 30 minutes of private attention may solve the issue and the team members will feel more considered as part of the wider organisation – make them an advocate and he/she will start to promote the changes you are making.
  3. Communicate regularly with your team – make it personal, make it your mission to connect with them.
  4. It is possible that your team do not feel that they can communicate openly and honestly with you. Perhaps they feel intimidated or not listened to or considered as part of the organisational decision making? Think about how you could solve this issue (See point 3).

I hope you will agree that it is much more powerful to pick up on and focus on the things that bother you the most. Also, you can use your energy more efficiently, and it is far more likely that you will be listened to and have your ideas and thoughts considered.

So, what fight are you going to pick next??

As always, feedback and comments are welcomed!

Thanks for reading,


Recently I have been asked to write a few references, mostly in the capacity as an employer.

Writing a reference is not all that difficult and to make it a little easier I have put together some of my thoughts and tips for writing an employment reference.

Language used:

  • ‘The applicant’ is the person that you are providing a reference for
  • ‘The employer’ is the person that has asked you for a reference for a new post

First of all it is expected that the applicant will ask you politely if you would like to be put forward as a referee prior to be contacted by an employer, this is only courteous.

Under most circumstances an employer will supply you with some sort of form to complete along with a job description of the job that the applicant has applied for, which will help you to figure out what is and is not relevant.

You may be faced with some tick boxes, complete this as required. In most cases you will be provided with an area for free text, where you can write your personal reference or recommendation. Please take the time to add something in the free text, which will greatly help the new employer make a decision about the applicant(s).

Keep in mind that the new employer reading your reference will not be aware of what is or has been required in the current or previous role held by the applicant (of which you are going to comment on). It is a good idea to give a little background about the current role and operations, just to provide some context.

Think about the following points to help you construct your reference: –

  • The capacity in which you know the applicant
  • How long you have known the applicant
  • Key characteristics of the applicant – friendly, approachable, empathetic, etc
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses – You need to be able to word any possible weaknesses very carefully.
  • Qualifications – Any relevant qualifications?
  • Career Aspirations
  • Experience
  • Key achievements
  • The applicants suitability for the role

Transferrable Skills

Make sure your reference is relevant to the position that the applicant has applied for. Even if the two roles are dissimilar in nature you should be able to pick out the transferrable skills that the applicant will be able to apply to the new role.

Examples of transferable skills: –

  • Team work
  • Communication
  • IT skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Multi-tasking
  • Good written work

Be careful…

If you do not want to give a reference then you can refuse to do so, do not be tempted to write a bad reference as this can be seen as unprofessional.

Also, remember that with all references the applicant can request a copy of what you have written, so when you are writing it make sure you would be happy for the applicant to read it. In most cases I send the reference to the applicant myself to make sure they are happy with it prior to sending it to the new employer.

I hope this has helped. Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Thanks for reading,


Twitter – @chrismarr101

At the start of the year I put out a post about business environmental analysis, which provided an insight into some basic, although timeless strategies and tools, including ‘Porter’s 5-Forces’.

Michael Porter created the 5-Forces strategy about 30 years agao and it is still used widely today.

In this HBR article Michael Porter provides an insight into the application and implications of the strategy.

There is a video that summaries the article, which can be viewed below and further reading can be found on the HBR website.

Check it out and take advice from Porter himself!!

Thanks for reading.


Twitter – @chrismarr101

Preparing your application for a job can be a difficult and daunting process, especially if you have not done it for a while.

The tips and information I have detailed below will hopefully make you feel a little better and more motivated to complete your application.


By doing all the right things you should be able to secure yourself an interview, which should be your main goal; you must make it very clear that you are capable of doing the job.

This advice can be used by anyone who is applying for a job, although I appreciate that some applications may vary for different types of jobs, especially very specific jobs.

Why am I qualified to give this advice?

I have worked in a large organisation for 10 years. In that time I have interviewed and employed a few hundred people – from front line staff to managers and everything in between. From this experience I know what to look for and I know what pleases/displeases me as an employer. It is obvious to me when someone has taken time over their application and personalised it for the job.

Instead of wanting A job, you should want THIS job…there is a subtle difference.

I have provided some hints and tips for what to do when completing your: –

  1. Application;
  2. Covering Letter;
  3. Personal Statement;
  4. and your CV.

These are the main elements that are normally required by employers when applying for a job. From time to time you will find that some employers only require a CV OR an application.

You may be asked to complete small practical or aptitude tests at the interview stage, which will not be covered here.

1. Your Application

This usually requires you to detail a combination of personal details, education, experience and references.  This should be fairly straight forward.

If you have extensive qualifications and experience, only include what is relevant to the job you are applying for.

Your education and experience should start with the most recent and work backwards.

Make sure you include everything they ask for as an incomplete application may result in quick elimination from the selection process.

You may be asked to include a job description for each of your previous positions, depending on how much space you have, if it is only a small space, you could bullet point your main responsibilities. This is a good opportunity to quickly summarise your responsibilities and include anything that is being asked for in this new role.

You may also find it relevant to include any professional qualifications. This would include any certificated training you have received ‘on-the-job’. If it is relevant, make sure you include it.

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2. Covering Letter

The covering letter should always be written, some people fail to write one when it is not specifically asked for, but you should always write one. The aim should be for the employer to get a good feel for who you are, and by the time they have completed reading your letter they should already be thinking about interviewing you and have a good underst anding of why you are suitable.

This is your opportunity to personalise your application and introduce yourself.  You should include a few paragraphs, which can be an excerpt from your personal statement. Include a bit about who you are and why you are suitable for the role. The cover letter basically provides more context for your CV and demonstrates your writing style.

Write it fashioned into a formal letter… click here to see a basic tutorial on how to write a letter… and try to keep it to 1 page of A4. Also, it is a good idea to write the letter to a specific person, so find out who you are writing to and address it to them.

If you are intending to email your application, include your covering letter in the body of the email.

Be clear and concise in your writing and explain why you are the best c andidate for the job; showing how you meet the most essential criteria.

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3. Personal Statement

Your personal statement is your opportunity to tell the employer who you are, how you meet the criteria for the job, how you are different from everyone else and why they should employ you.

The hardest part about a personal statement is starting it…my advice would be to just start writing anything, don’t worry about the start, middle and end just yet…get stuck in and start writing about you and your achievements.

Things you should include: –

Who you are –
This should be about your aspirations, your behaviours, what makes you ‘you’. This can be your introduction. For example: –

I am a trustworthy, reliable and hard working individual. I like to enjoy what I do and this allows me to be happy at work. I feel that this encourages the people around me to be positive and makes for a great working environment. I see this role as a natural step in my career and an excellent opportunity to broaden my experience and apply the knowledge and skills I have into a broader remit.

How you meet the criteria –
This is simply a ‘tick box’ exercise; all you need to do is dissect the job description and further particulars (FP’s) into small chunks, taking care to keep the essential and desirable criteria separate. This will help you to underst and what is being asked for and will also make the application less daunting…dealing with only little bits at a time.

Take the time to write a few sentences about how you satisfy each of these little sections of the FP’s. Try to think about what you have done in the past and what relevant achievements you have under your belt. You can then take the sentences you have written and start to build paragraphs from them.

Start your statement with your education and explain in sentences how you meet the essentials they are looking for. For example: –

“I graduated from college in [year] with [certificate]. I feel that I gained a lot from my studies and have developed a keen interest in [subjects you really enjoyed]. This qualification has afforded me the opportunity to [achieve something] and become better/an expert at…etc”

You may also wish to include relevant projects that have been undertaken and any other significant and relevant achievements.

Include relevant achievements from your relevant work experience.

There is a significant difference between listing your responsibilities and describing and explaining what you have achieved in your previous roles…the latter is far better.

Develop the rest of the personal statement using the small sentences you wrote down for each of the required criteria for the job and begin to structure your statement.

Make sure you are very clear in describing how you meet the essential criteria…this is what is absolutely required for the job and what the employer will first of all be looking for. The desirable criteria that you can satisfy can be used to differentiate you from the rest of the applicants, so it is also important that you fit the desirable criteria you meet into your personal statement.

Do not over complicate your statement with abbreviations and complicated language…be obvious and clear as to how you meet the criteria, this will make it even easier for the employer.

Other things to think about –

  1. How you can apply what you know to the role you are applying for
  2. What you can bring to the role
  3. What challenges you think the role will bring and how you will overcome them

Finishing up
A small conclusion is required to finish off your statement. Keep it short and summarise what you have already mentioned. For example: –

“I have read the further particulars and I feel that I fully underst and the requirements of this role.  I believe that I have what it takes to fulfill and develop this role and look forward to the opportunities and challenges that the role will provide.”

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4. CV Writing

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This will be a brief summary of CV writing, there are a lot of other web pages dedicated to CV writing.

The key qualities of a CV: –

  1. No longer that 2 pages in length
  2. Relevant to the job you are applying for
  3. Well written
  4. Laid our clearly
  5. Easy to read
  6. St ands out from other CV’s

Sections to include in your CV: –

  1. Header
  2. About Me/Profile
  3. Professional Experience/Employment
  4. Education
  5. References


You should spend time researching the company your are applying to and make it obvious that you have done some research by including some remarks and references in your personal statement.

Other Tips

  1. Leave yourself plenty of time; You do not want to rush through it, so read the requirements as early as you can so you can digest the information
  2. Do you really want this job? Can you envision yourself doing the job? – You are wasting your own time applying for a job you don’t want, so make sure you want it.  The employer will know if you truly want the job or not.
  3. Make sure you personalise everything; an employer can spot a generic application/cover letter. Make it obvious that the letter and application is not generic…the employer will appreciate it!
  4. Employers expect your application to be word processed, so if you struggle with this or do not have access to a computer, find someone that is willing to help you to do it…just make sure it is word processed.
  5. Make sure everything is correctly spelled and your grammar is also correct.
  6. Do not make up stories; if you lie or elaborate too much on your application you will be caught out at interview, or worse case scenario you will get the the job but you  won’t be able to do it!
  7. The people reading your application don’t know who you are, so make sure you explain everything, without going on too much; don’t leave blanks in your application for them to complete themselves.
  8. Convert all your documents to .pdf prior to emailing; not essential, but this will make your document more secure and more compatible than that of other software.

Further Support

I am happy to provide a free service to you for the following: –

  1. Proof reading of applications, etc;
  2. Making comments or recommendations regarding your Application or CV, etc;
  3. Assistance with structuring personal statements.

To make things smooth just email me and attach the relevant documents. For a little bit of context, and to help me out, please attach the job description for the job you are applying for.

I also provide a CV writing service which is chargeable. Please contact me for a quote.

I really hope this helps you out when applying for a job.  If you have time take a look at my preparing for an interview advice, which should help you at the next stage.

If you have any question or need assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

Good luck!


There will always be a time where you will have to complete a task, delegated to you by your boss, that you are not fully motivated to complete. Your lack of motivation could be for many reasons; lack of involvement, lack of underst anding, lack of interest, etc. However, this does not mean that you will not do it, or that it will be done to any less of a quality…but you do need to find a way to motivate yourself, and your manager needs to find a way to positively motivate you too.

If your manager knows you well enough, he or she will know what tasks you like and dislike. The manager can then take advantage of the mother principle/rule.

Remember when you were young your Mum used to say…”if you eat your vegetables you will get dessert”…or…”if you get your homework done first you can then go out and play”…?

Apply this concept to leadership/management and you can combine what employees don’t like doing with what they do like doing.

If you are the boss then you can apply the principle  to what you do…reward yourself with a task you enjoy doing after completing one you don’t like as much.



It is important to prepare prior to an interview. You do not know exactly what questions will be asked, so it is important to do some general preparation about you and your abilities. The preparation will give you the ability to quickly recall information when answering questions.

Depending on what you are used to you could prepare in different ways. You could write lists, or brainstorm. You could also sit down with someone you know really well and do some role play interviews to practice your interview technique.

Some people are better than others when it comes to selling themselves but what you must be able to do is show self-confidence; that you are sure of whom you are and your ability to do the job.

Think about the following points and take your notes: –

  1. Research the company
    1. Mission statement
    2. Long term objectives
  2. Read and dissect the job description (look back at the tips for preparing your application)
  3. List your strengths & how they apply to the aspects of the role
  4. List your weaknesses and what you do to overcome them
  5. Who you are as a person
    1. Your behaviour
    2. High st andards
    3. Friendly
    4. Honest
    5. Approachable, etc
  6. What motivates you
    1. Quality
    2. Adding value
    3. A challenging role
    4. Doing something fresh; something new; something innovative
  7. Have a clear underst anding of what the expectations of the job are
    1. Again, back to the job description – make sure you underst and what the expectations are
  8. Why you think you are the person for the job
    1. Be honest – sell yourself!
  9. Think about your experience
    1. What have you achieved?

Example interview questions

You have to consider the role and the requirements. For example, if it is a management role or leadership role, then expect questions and your answers to contain elements of leadership; if it is a technical job, then expect questions and your answers to contain examples of your technical ability.

I have listed a few ‘closed’ questions here (i.e. questions that can be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – do not fall into this trap, always elaborate on your response with examples).

About you: –

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your work experience
    1. Tell us your best moments/not so great moments
  2. What are your strengths & how do they apply to the job?
  3. What are you weaknesses and how do you overcome them?
  4. What motivates you to achieve; what drives you?
  5. Are you a reliable person?
  6. Are you flexible in your approach to work?
  7. Do you feel passionate about what you do?
    1. What is your favourite part about what you do?
    2. What is your passion?
  8. What are your aspirations?
    1. 1/3/5 year plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?

The role: –

  1. What can you bring to this role?
  2. Why should we hire you for this job?
  3. What challenges do you think this role will bring?
  4. What do you see as being the main challenge in this role?

Your development: –

  1. Tell us the last training course you attended.
  2. Do you actively pursue personal development opportunities?

Team Work: –

  1. What are your strengths as a team member?
  2. Do you have the ability to encourage and maintain good working relationships?
    1. How do you do this?
  3. What role do you play in a team environment?
  4. Have you ever worked in a poor performing team? How did you cope?
  5. Give me an example of when you had to be particularly supportive to others in a team.

Innovation: –

  1. Give me an example of when you have shown creativity.
  2. Give me an example of a time when you used a less common approach to work.
  3. Do you feel that your ideas are always listen to?
  4. Do you feel that you have good ideas?
  5. Are you creative?
  6. Can you provide a situation where your ideas have been criticised? How did you deal with this? Did you feel it was unfair?

Time management: –

  1. Give me an example of when you had to work to an important deadline.
  2. How do you manage your time effectively?
  3. Describe a situation where you have had to deal with a high degree of pressure.

Policy and procedure: –

  1. Can you tell me about a time when it was essential that you followed clear policies or procedures?
  2. Are you capable of following policy & procedure?
  3. Do you think it is important to follow policy and procedure? Why?
  4. Has there ever been a time where you have not followed policy/procedure? What happened?
  5. In your experience, have you ever had to complete paper work or reports as part of your role? How did you cope with this?

Communication: –

  1. Do you think communication is important?
  2. Would you define yourself as a good communicator?
  3. Tell me about a time when you found it difficult to build an effective working relationship with a customer or colleague?
  4. Describe a situation where you had difficulty persuading someone around to your point of view.
  5. How do you manage difficult people?
  6. Can you deal with conflict? How?

Performance: –

  1. How do you measure your performance?
  2. How do you know that you are successful?
  3. Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it.
  4. Give an example of a goal you didn’t meet and how you h andled it.
  5. Have you ever made a mistake? How did you h andle it?

Quality: –

  1. How do you determine quality?
  2. Do you believe in delivering the best quality?

The customer: –

  1. Define excellent customer service.
  2. Are you comfortable speaking to people you don’t know?
  3. What is the best way to deal with a customer complaint?
  4. Give me an example of a time when you had to satisfy a particular customer or client need (this could be an internal or external ‘customer’).

Other questions: –

  1. If you know your boss is 100% wrong about something how would you h andle it?

Prepare some questions for the panel

  1. Try to stay away from terms and conditions…
  2. What are the future prospects of this role?
  3. Who will I be reporting to?
  4. Who will be setting out my objectives?
  5. Can you describe the team culture
  6. What are the organisations long term objectives, and how do they apply to this role?
  7. How does this role fit in with the rest of the organisation?

Other tips: –

  1. Listen to the question and make sure you underst and what it is that is being asked.
  2. Respond appropriately. Pause before you respond.
  3. Think about projects that you have been involved in and what you achieved. What learning’s can you apply to this role?
  4. Some more info can be found at About.Com.

Click here to read 25 questions you probably won’t get asked…but worth reading anyway!!

I hope this helps you to prepare for your interview!



In every organisation there are performance reviews and there will be informal
and formal checking and monitoring of performance.

The information below is a guide or set of tips for managers who chair performance
reviews in their organisation and this is how I get the most out of the review
meetings (basically by asking A LOT if questions).

Traditionally managers would be used to looking at WHAT you have done at performance review. It is just as important, if not more important, to consider HOW tasks have been completed and WHY; thus assessing the workers behaviour along with performance and results.

The Aims

  1. To engage with the employees, find out what they are thinking and how they
    feel about their job.
  2. To discuss past/current/future organisational objectives and how they impact
    upon their role.
  3. Discuss personal performance to date (ties in nicely with the Octopus development
    tool from earlier).
  4. Discuss the future of their career and personal development.

Do not give away information…the chances are you will know the answers
to the questions, but it is better to get the employee to think about the answers
and respond.


When arranging performance review meetings it is a good idea to give the employee
some advanced warning. This way you have given the employee the opportunity
to prepare for the meeting. Give them a copy of the notes from their review
from last time so they can take time to figure out what they have achieved versus
what was agreed previously.

The setting

You need to break down the formalities to make everyone feel comfortable.

  1. Sit side by side…don’t have the traditional set up where the manger sits
    across from the employee;
  2. Get a drink or water or a cup of tea/coffee;
  3. Give the employee some paper and a pen in case they want to write notes;
  4. Explain that you are going to take notes about your discussion;
  5. Give the employee an indication of how long the review will last.


Describe the process to the employee and the structure of the meeting including
the aims.

Starting off – the past

Go on to talk about the period between now and the last review (refer to notes
from previous review)

  1. How has your job changed in the last 6 months/1 Year – is this a positive
  2. What do you feel you have achieved in the last 6 months/1 Year?
  3. Have you met your objectives? Why/why not?
  4. What challenges have you encountered?

Talking about now

  1. Describe the job role that you fulfil at the moment.
  2. How does your job fit in with the rest of the team/organisation?
  3. What do you like the most about your job?
  4. What do you like the least about your job?
  5. Currently, what would you say are your main objectives?

Go on to focus on the objectives for the next period and provoke thought
by asking questions, which may include: –

Customer Focus

  1. How do you think your role impacts upon the customer service?
  2. What do you currently do, in your role, to enhance the customer experience?
  3. What would you say your strengths are with regards to customer service?
  4. Do you have something unique that makes you st and out from the rest?
  5. In your role, how do you think you can improve the customer service?
  6. Do you feel that you really know what the customer wants?
  7. Comment on the recent survey…why do you think we were rated as we were…do
    you think this truly reflects our service? Why/why not?
  8. What kind of challenges do you face when trying to be as customer focussed
    as possible?

Meeting Targets

Rate your own performance from 1 to 10 – What are you measuring your performance

  1. How do you motivate yourself?
  2. How do you get things done?
  3. Who measures your performance?
  4. How do you make sure you meet your targets?
  5. Are you an organised person?
  6. Is there anything you feel that you could be doing better?
  7. How do you organise yourself?
    1. Do you prioritise your own work or does someone do that for you?
    2. How is your work prioritised?
  8. What challenges to you anticipate in meeting your objectives?
  9. What challenges do you face in your day to day routine?


When we talk about be behaviour we are talking about professionalism and how
that behaviour is tailored for people working inside and outside of the organisation;
the customer and the people you work with.

  1. If someone was to ask you what you do for a living…what would you tell
    1. Do you promote the organisation outside of work?
  2. What if I said to you “Act professionally“…what would
    that mean to you?
  3. Do you enjoy your job?
  4. Are you proud of what you do?
  5. Are you enthusiastic about your work?
  6. How do you feel about your job?
  7. Why is it important to be professional ?

The working environment

  1. How would you describe the current working environment?
  2. Can improvements be made?
  3. Are you doing everything you can to make sure there is a good working atmosphere?
  4. Who’s job is it to maintain a good working environment?
  5. What do you think we can do to improve the working environment?

What about the future?

  1. What do you see your self doing in the future?
  2. What are your aspirations?
  3. What do you feel passionate about?
  4. What do you think you could be doing to improve your job?
  5. Is there something that we do already that you would like to get involved
  6. How do you see you career progress in the
    1. Short term
    2. Medium term
    3. Long term
  7. What kind of support do you think you need?


  1. Follow up appropriate questions with ‘why’
  2. Do not give away too much…get them thinking by asking a lot of questions,
    for example: –
    1. How does that make you feel?
    2. Why is that?
    3. What could have been done to improve that?
  3. Normally with any question you ask you should have a good idea of the response
    you are going to 3. get. It’s best if you know what you are looking for when
    you ask the question, then you can comment on anything that is missing, or
    elaborate on specific parts of the answer.
  4. Feedback your opinion on performance with <em>constructive</em>

Closing the meeting

  1. Give an overview of specific areas including the agreed objectives for
    the following period;
  2. Give praise where it is due and comment on areas that require improvement;
  3. Make sure the employee has something to think about when they leave the
    review meeting;
  4. Agree your next meeting date/time.

Managing the process

As before it is important that the manager is well organised.

  1. Make sure you organise your notes
  2. Make sure you read over your notes from the last meeting so you know what
    you want to cover
  3. A day or so later, feedback to the employee with minutes of your meeting,
    detailing current objectives and agreed actions for both employee and manager.

Thanks for reading,



As a manager there is a good chance that you will be asked to write a performance review report for your relevant department(s). I have listed a few tips that should help you to structure and present a report in a professional way so that your report will be taken seriously and, if you are lucky, it will actually be read by your manager!

There are several benefits to writing management reports: –

  • Over time a collection of reports will prove as a great portfolio and growth measurement tool;
  • It’s a great opportunity to show your manager what you have achieved.

Report Preparation

The following considerations should be made prior to, and during, report writing: –

  1. Who is the report is for?
    1. How much do they already know about what you are writing about?
    2. Why do they want this information?
    3. Who else may possibly read it?
    4. What do they want to use the report for? (Consider any economic or political influences)
  2. Appeal to the stakeholders best interest, for example: –
    1. Profit
    2. Revenue
    3. Productivity/Achievement
    4. Sales growth
  3. Appropriate formatting should be applied
  4. Spelling and grammar should be checked
  5. Keep the report professional & factual as possible
  6. Keep the report as concise as you can

The Report Structure

Here is an example of what should be included in a management report: –

Front Cover
Title, author and date


Contents Page
Summary of contents


Contains a summary of the report.
Briefly comment on how you feel about the performance of the department to date.
A Small paragraph, enough to let the reader know the content and relevance of the report.


Expectations vs Reality
Include a comparison of your initial expectations and the most recent time frame (if it is a 3 month report then you would consider your objectives from 3 months ago and weight them against your current state)


Unit Performance
Provide a brief outline of the department/unit performance over the time period and provide reasoning for unexpected growth or decline/excellent or poor performance, etc. Provide charts and graphs if appropriate to illustrate your points.


Projection of Performance
Project performance for the next 3 months (or time period agreed by line manager) – provide reason why you believe this to be the correct projection.
Provide charts and graphs if appropriate.


Current Objectives
With reference to the last three months and achievement to date, what are your current objectives and the course of action toward achieving these objectives.


Ideas and Concept Proposals
Give indications of what changes you would like to put in place and include proposals and structured ideas/concepts, based on factual data and information. Provide a SWOT analysis of any decisions that are to be made. Provide charts and graphs if appropriate.


Provide a summary of the main report and link into recommendations. No new information or data should be included in this section.


Recommendations based on previous analysis of objectives and concept proposals contained with report. Your recommendations should be clear and concise; a summary that can be read quickly and understood.


Reference to other published work and credence to personal assistance.
Location of where data and information was obtained from.


Line Manager Comments
Allow your line manager to make comment and feedback on contents of report and recommendations you have made.

Important considerations

Providing factual information and data to make your recommendations look concrete is vital, it must be obvious where this data was obtained and that it is from a reputable source.

I hope this provides you with a starting point for writing a management report!

Comments are more than welcome!

Thanks for reading,



I’m sure that in your organisation you will have some sort of internal review process/performance review, although sometimes it is not enough to just have a meeting once per year or to just focus on the goals related to the role the employee plays within the organisation. This development tool focuses upon the individual with reference to their PERSONAL objectives, on an ongoing basis.

I have designed a development plan that can be used for all team members and I have made them available for download as .pdf documents ( Stage 1 – Self Assessment and Stage 2 – Agreed Objectives).

I personally really enjoy spending time with people and get them thinking about the future and what their aspirations may be. I want to support them in whatever it is they want to do and this tool helps me to do that in a structure way.

A planned development strategy will allow you to: –

  1. Spend structured, formal and regular time with individual team members.
  2. Constructively recognise employee strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Agree objectives and work on areas of development.
  4. Give them more exposure and room to develop.
  5. Monitor their performance and give them direct and constructive feedback.

There are many advantages for the employer and the employee: –

  1. A skilled, knowledgeable and engaged workforce
  2. The individuals know that you care about their personal development
  3. High team morale
  4. The team begin to really enjoy their job
  5. Everyone feels involved and that they are achieving something

Remember to use questions to get information and facilitate discussion.

Stage 1

( .pdf)

Using this form you can either choose to sit down with the employee and discuss or send them away with the form to complete the questions and get back to you…then discuss at a later date. The main idea here is to get them engaged in thinking about their career path and what development they require in order to get what they want. Question 7 “Do you have someone at work that you would consider your best friend” is really just about finding out if there is someone that the employee can fully trust, which I think is important in the workplace.

As far as development is concerned, the main areas to concentrate on are questions 2, 3 and 8. Question 8 is a good place to start you will be able to get a good picture of what the employee is working towards, which will than allow you to approach the areas of development required in order to meet their goal.

Stage 2

( .pdf)

The stage 2 form is then used to break down the goals into smaller chunks, perhaps even tasks that need to be completed in order to develop. You use one form for each objective and you may end up with 4 or 5 which may all be of different time scales.

Remember to make the objectives SMART and give the employee a clear deadline for things to be completed.

When you come to review progress you can use the section at the bottom of the form to take notes.

Building a Portfolio

After you start ‘ticking boxes’ and making progress you find that you start to build up a nice portfolio of achievement for the employees. This could possibly be used as a tool for promotion.

Adopting the correct leadership style

You have to be prepared for things to not go the way you planned. Also, there will be some who require little coaching and guidance to meet their personal objectives, and some who require much more attention. You won’t know until you start the process and find out who needs what attention from you and what style of leadership you will need to adopt.

Managing the process

As the manager it is up to you to check progress and organise the meetings; you are the key support in their development. You will find that if you do not keep on top of it things will not be achieved, although it very much depends on how engaged the employee is. Remember to follow up on any agreed actions; organise a training course, send someone an email or schedule another meeting, for example.

Take the time after each meeting to review your notes and jot down what you think is next and schedule the next meeting in your diary before you forget.

Thanks for reading,