Let’s start out by admitting that a guide for “not-late, great status updates” is not the most attention-grabbing headline in the world. Honestly, I’m excited you even chose to click this article.
While you read this, I promise you two things:
1. I am not tone deaf to the dryness of this topic; and
2. By the end, you will have a renewed pizzazz for making status updates. And one that contributes to the future success of your organization.
Why Status Updates are important
Since it is such a “blah” sounding topic, why write about it?
Status updates are important tools. It’s likely that you are responsible for updating statuses in AchieveIt, or sadly, another system. This means that you, and only you, were chosen for your visibility and unique perspective.
You see, in AchieveIt, each plan item can only have one responsible user, JUST ONE. Careful attention is paid to make sure that whoever is selected is the best person for the job!
Further, your organization needs to understand progress on key initiatives. And your perspective is key to enabling the best possible strategic business decisions. As the individual assigned to update a plan item, your company needs your help to carry out a vital plan. Whether it’s a major initiative or a minor task, the organization continues on its path based on your contribution.
At AchieveIt, we focus on automating strategy communication to every layer of an organization. From status updates to reports to dashboards.
This means that someone you don’t work with will need to understand how your items are progressing. And sometimes your updates will be discussed in a room where you aren’t present.
So, it’s your status update that represents your work as accurately as possible.
What’s the Real status?
In the spirit of accuracy and truth, we usually know the actual status of a plan item. Be it a project, KPI, task, or other — we know what’s happening.
BUT, we often don’t want our names associated with something that we think may reflect poorly on us. It takes real bravery to put the real status down. But the more accurate you are the more well-informed your organization will be.
You alone have the power to communicate the real status of a plan item. And the ability to do so effectively can capture the attention it requires. Or if going well, so you and your team can get recognized for your efforts!
Be encouraged and don’t see the status of an item as the grade of a person. Instead, it’s an opportunity to be a valuable alert system and signals that an off-track item needs more resources & attention.
So, if a status is On Track, celebrate your team’s wins.
If it’s Off Track, explain why it’s Off Track and what’s preventing it from being On Track.
Or if it’s At Risk or Not Achieved, it doesn’t mean you aren’t doing your job. It’s an opportunity to explain WHY and what is needed to course correct.
Each status option is in place to help you and your organization win in the end. And sometimes this means putting down “no update,” because there was no update. That is fine too because, most importantly, it is accurate!
The ROI of Efficient Execution
Download this guide and the companion calculator worksheet to show your team what you’re leaving on the table without enabling plan visibility, organizational alignment, or automated accountability.
Leveraging numbers and context for quantitative & qualitative updates
When you receive a request for a status update, think about how the request is saving you, and your colleagues, from another status meeting. One that likely could have been an email.
With each update, you may be saving time for yourself and everyone you work with.
If you are rolling your eyes, we get it. You have tasks from last week (and even last quarter) that are weighing on you. And getting an AchieveIt update request in your inbox seems like just another thing on your desk.
You might even think “what is the bare minimum I need to put in here to move on.”
BUT THEN the high performer side of you thinks “what is the best possible update I can give to help your team win?”
The best status updates contain 3 parts
Let’s assume we end up somewhere in the middle. We proceed by quickly updating the numerical requirements first. But we shouldn’t stop there.
Any context you provide is extremely valuable given your unique perspective. Context added to numbers is extremely helpful. All it takes is a quick sentence explaining why you selected the status and another explaining what happens next. Easy.
Or if it helps, think of it as a three-part status update:
1. Accurately update the status light (on track, off track, etc.)
2. Add a sentence (or two) explaining why
3. Add a sentence about next steps
If everyone is rowing together in the same direction, your organization will achieve remarkable things! And the start is providing the right context at the right time. Status updates are a super straightforward way that you can contribute to organizational success.
Drop us a line if we broke any promises we made to you in the first paragraph. And hopefully, now you’re ready to make status updates with a bit more excitement.
Ready to improve your plan execution?
Organizations of all types leverage AchieveIt to connect, manage, and execute their most important initiatives. Replace manual processes & siloed systems with interconnected plans in a single, automated platform.