Lean Management: The Power of the EOD Report

Wanted to talk to you today about a lightweight management technique I’ve developed over the years called “The EOD and EOW.”

When we hire someone, I tell them that we don’t have management at LAUNCH, that it’s a flat organization and our goal is to stay small but increase our efficiency.

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There isn’t a massive reporting structure and you have to manage yourself, and the primary way we do that is an end of day report called the EOD.

The implicit deal is that you’re not going to be micromanaged, or candidly, managed at all, but you will need to “put up numbers” and be accountable to the rest of the team.

The report format is simple and has the following characteristics:

  1. It’s a bullet point list of what you worked on today.
  2. It should take no longer than five minutes to write.
  3. It should include links (i.e., Google sheets, Asana projects, Squarespace, ad campaigns, video clips, etc.).
  4. It can include any blockers or challenging problems you’re facing.
  5. Bonus points if you include a graph, table or chart once and awhile.
  6. Bonus points if you educate the rest of the team in your email.

It’s at once deceptively easy and frustrating at times. If you’re in your email box all day, on social media or reading the news, you might find yourself with zero bullet points at lunchtime (we don’t put in stuff like “checked email” or “read the news” in our EODs).

If you’re not GSDing (getting sh@W$%t done) the EOD lets you know that. So, we now explain to new team members — especially “young guns” (people with under 10 years experience) — that if they are concerned about their EODs being light, to talk to some team members and say, “how can I help more? I’m concerned I’m not contributing enough.”

Ninety percent of the time the people we hire embrace this agreement and crush it. Ten percent of the time we have folks who “forget” to do their EOD, or they send their EOD the next day. Sometimes folks figure out that they’re not passionate about our mission and they’re not a culture fit for our company, and we part ways.

Other times managers realize that they made a bad hire because the person doesn’t have time management skills or, well, enough skills to GSD!

Senior folks in the organization (my top four people, whom I refer to as the “Fantastic Four”) do an EOW (end of the week, sent to each other and to me).

Folks in the organization added to the EOD process by creating a draft email at the start of the day with the top three bullets of what they want to get done.

This may all seem super obvious, but if you deploy the EOD/EOW system, at least in a small company, you’ll find out that performance increases and “lack of communication” errors and frustrations go way down.

You also inspire the ETBs (early true believers) and flush out the clock punchers.

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