Sorry, I’m busy

Often when I try to meet up with a client towards the end of the month, I get the “Sorry, I’m busy with the monthly report” excuse. I’m deliberately saying “excuse” because we make time for what is important to us. Let me explain further.

writing reports

The monthly report is an issue for most safety professionals / safety managers. At the end of the month, they have to report to the EXCO or board about the SHE issues and performance for that month. It is an activity they dislike intensely, and hence procrastinate over. The deadline hangs over their heads like a sword and it is a mad scramble to get all the information together and to then compile the report.

For many, the report is like a composition competition – choosing the right words and content so as to make a favorable impression on the bosses. The irony is that the report is a rear view mirror exercise and often not even read.

Here are some tips to make it easier:

  • Keep it simple and factual. Less is more in terms of words. Provide links the reader can click to get more detail (a standard practice).
  • Focus on actions completed and results produced.
  • Have a standard template or framework and fill in the information.
  • Delegate the responsibility for each section to one of your subordinates. This splits the burden. If you’re working online, it’s easy to share the document.
  • Set the deadline for information to be submitted to you to one week before you have to submit your report.
  • Make notes on the template throughout the month, whenever a noteworthy occurrence takes place.
  • Set aside a fixed time to compile the final report and stick to it. The more time you spend on writing the report, the more you will be inclined to “waffle”.

The report is a safety communication tool. It is not an end in itself. Treat it as such.

Be safe – the SIMPLY SMART way,


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