Admit it: you hate writing a status report for your manager every week. Every manager has a different format for writing it, it seems no one looks at it, and every manager wants something different on it. Did I mention it is a pain to write? All true. I'd contend, however, that the lowly status report — written correctly — is your ultimate communications tool to show your results from your work. Consider:
You prove your work delivered results every week
You have an opportunity to show great progress toward meeting your work goals — or that you attended fifteen meetings during the week. You can show you deliver on your work or show that you don't accomplish much just by what you put on your status report and how you write it. Sure, you could have spent time in fifteen meetings for the week. But managers don't care about how many meetings you attended; they care about the results you achieved, whether in meetings or not. If you "finalized the implementation plan for your project" in meetings that week, you write about "finalizing the implementation plan" and not that you "attended the meeting." If you're writing about how you are delivering your objectives and successes from your work
, you have the opportunity to show your work matters, one week at a time.
Your status reports inform your performance review
I hated writing performance reviews — until I figured out that all the information I needed was in the great status reports I'd written for my manager during the year. What happened back in January? I looked at my status reports. Did I make my mid-year objectives? I looked at my status reports. If you don't want to have your review be about what you've accomplished over the last two weeks, I'd suggest writing what you deliver every week in your status report and then use them to help write your mid-year or year-end performance self-review.
Your status reports help build your resume
Most of us don't keep our resumes current. We don't think about updating our resume until we make a decision to start looking for a new job. Or a decision was made for us to start looking for a new job. The great resumes show how your work contributed to business results
in your company or department. Yet, as you are staring at that printed resume to determine what to update, you might as well be staring at a blank sheet of paper. Getting a little panicky. Looking at what you wrote and already hearing those ruthless recruiters cackling away as they throw your resume in the electronic trash can
for lack of results. Who can remember all that we did, anyway? Well, your status reports remember. If you've done a good job writing them, included your business results, and sent them to your personal e-mail address, you have a built-in resume builder that can interest the most cynical resume reader.
The status report is part of a career communications system
How you communicate your business results to your manager, your team, and to potential hiring managers is all part of a system of documenting your work and pulling the necessary relevant parts to show your work compared to what is needed
. The status report, if you want, can sit in the middle of this communications system and be the lynchpin that holds your business results for whoever needs them, whenever they are needed. When you change your lowly status report to a killer status report, you can prove your worth once a week — every week — to your manager or a potential hiring manager.