When Julia, my OFS, wrote this email, she started it with a lie:

“I will share a badly kept secret: I don’t read all the daily reports my team sends me.”

Which is not true! and means I’m not doing a great job of letting people know they’re appreciated.

The crazy thing is, they think I don’t read them, but they still send daily reports.

If they really, really need my attention for a task, they email me directly or tag me on Basecamp.

So, what’s the point in insisting that my OFS team send daily reports if they think I’m not going to read them anyway?


Even if I don’t READ every single one, I still skim through them.  With 40+ people on my team, it’s a lot of daily reports.

I notice those who haven’t been sending reports.

I still see if there’s a daily decline in productivity.

If there are projects that I want to focus on, I will make sure to read the reports of the people involved, like the ones from my dev team and content creation.

But for those in my team that have repetitive tasks like customer support or verification, I usually skim through them. Their reports are very similar each day.

You might ask, “John, what if they lie in their daily reports? It’s easy to say you did all these things and did nothing all day.”

Our solution to that is to remove any motivation to lie.

We saw that an OFS might lie in their reports if they feel like they’re not allowed to be unproductive like when they’re sick or encounter a task they don’t know what to do.

If they’re sick, they can email us or put that in their report.

They can also put that in their daily report if they’re having a problem with their task.

The habit of writing and sending a report is the most important thing for me. Sending a report every day tells me that:
– they’re working,
– things are progressing,
– they’re loyal,
– they’re there when I need them, and
– they’re not afraid to ask for help.

In our daily reports I ask them to answer 3 questions:
1. What did you do today?
2. What problems did you run into?
3. What can I do to help?

I rarely get answers to 2 and 3, but when I do it always solves problems in our business.


PS. I just spent 5 days backpacking in southern Utah with my family. What an amazing place.