Management Tip of the Day: Produce results, not reports

Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:38am EST
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BOSTON (Reuters Life!) - Proposing specific outcomes on projects by cross-functional teams can be a way to avoid a stream of reports and proposals without any results to show for the effort, says Harvard Business Review.

The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and ( Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

"Cross-functional teams can be notorious for generating reports, recommendations, and suggestions for implementation -- but no actual results.

The next time you manage a team of people from different parts of the organization, focus them on making change, not proposing it.

The first step is to alter the nature of the task. Don't ask your team to 'look at' or 'study' a certain issue. Challenge them to SOLVE it: reduce costs by 10 percent or improve the speed of a process two-fold. Then, authorize them to experiment.

Encourage them to try possible improvements to see which work. Not all will, of course, but the team will build momentum for implementation and prepare the organization for change. You may still want a report, but it should cover 'what's been done,' not 'what can be done.'"

-Today's management tip was adapted from "Do Your Teams Produce Reports or Results?" by Ron Ashkenas.

(For the full post, see: here)