According to Dictionary.com the definition of a report is
Upon arriving in the IT rooms this Thursday I expected to see a draft report ready to critique and offer some advice on improvements that might be possible. I didn’t see a report being worked upon during the first hour of the meeting other than someone playing with a photo of someone’s head on what looked like a report document in MS Word.
The report I ended up leaving with was, to use a common word this year, disappointing. They haven’t finished it and have barely put any effort into it. Each member was to provide a paragraph of info for inclusion into the document but there’s probably about 1.5 lines from each individual contributor, much of it waffle.
The presentation of the report isn’t aesthetically pleasing in the slightest with no theme other than a border that’s a basic word function. The only visibility of their company’s logo is on a page about it’s website, on a screenshot of their website. Needless to say when I saw this I asked for a printout so that I could work on it at home and offer some changes. Without grabbing this opportunity we’d never have seen a copy of this until it was handed in.
As soon as I walked into the room however, there was obviously some tension. Jess, my work colleague, was talking to the CuppaCake team whilst there appeared to be some heated discussion on the Anillos side of the room. It stemmed from three people arguing against another about the equipment purchased for the manufacture of the rings that they’d been selling.
It appears that Ed, the person who manufactured almost every ring, had suggested that they needed some equipment for the process to be efficient during the last few months. The team agreed with him that they’d buy it if he were to buy it back from them at the end of the programme. This was acceptable to him as he is going to continue making these rings and selling them in the summer holidays.
Only, now it’s come to the selling the equipment to Ed, the company MD and a few others would like the full retail price back from him. To him though it’s second hand and not worth the same as a new piece of equipment. He’s offering to buy it back for less than they paid for it, and they don’t like it one iota.
After a brief bit of calming down the tension and smoothing the waters I explained again the process of asset depreciation and that Ed was correct in his view of purchasing this second hand gear. There were a few other intricacies of details that meant that this was never going to be settled quickly so I asked both parties in the argument to go away and price up the second hand value of the equipment and then come together and strike a deal.
Written Records & Lessons Learned
A common theme during this argy-bargy was that Ed had gone back on the deal agreed at the beginning of the programme. This lined up with another common topic that we’ve talked about as advisers and that was meeting minutes and notes. If these agreements had been made in writing and captured in the meeting minutes there’d be no misunderstanding.
They all began to see just how important this fact of business life actually is. It was at this point that all the previous disappointment disappeared. I knew that they’d remember this lesson in the future and it felt good to be part of the experience that had shown them an important life skill. In my mind’s eye I could see the company MD in his future life as a businessman making a deal with someone and insisting that it was captured in writing, all as a result of this trauma.
Hopefully this isn’t the only lesson they’ve learnt or will learn from the remainder of the programme but now they’ve seen the practical benefit from following our advice maybe they’ll pay more attention in the future and listen more carefully. The only reason each of the advisers is able to offer this advice is because we’ve all been there and made those mistakes.
Their presentation was virtually non-existent too with one page of finances that are difficult to make any sense out of and a couple of pages of pictures of their website. They’ll need to do better than this to earn some big marks from the judges and I guess that someone will put some effort into collating it all over this weekend in preparation f the filming of their presentation.
We’ll just have to wait and see what the report and presentation critique enables them to improve…..