I struggled with leaving the structure and social interaction of the military. After 22 years, I was conditioned to provide and receive regular updates to ensure my team was always informed and aligned. In transitioning to a fully remote environment, I became haunted by how to keep communication flowing smoothly between leaders and teams without consistent personal interaction. I craved human connection and face-to-face discussion and wondered how a remote working environment might hinder communication.
Luckily, I stumbled upon the 15/5 report in a podcast, and it was a game-changer.
Created by Yvon Chouinard, Founder and CEO of Patagonia, The 15/5 report is a simple tool to keep your team in the know. You take 15 minutes at the end of the week to write a quick update to send to your team that should only take them 5 minutes to read. Patagonia employees used it to summarize the past week’s accomplishments, challenges, and lessons and to set priorities for the next week. (You could use these categories or add others tailored to your organization or current projects.) By consistently and predictably sharing high-level updates, you enhance remote communication and provide a channel for connection.
Here’s the drill:
- Dedicate 15 minutes each Friday: At the end of the week, create a brief update in whatever format works best for you to summarize this week’s accomplishments, challenges, lessons, and next week’s priorities. Be concise and focus on key points rather than elaborate details. (We’ve included a template below to make it easy!)
- Keep it snappy: Remember, the whole purpose of the 15/5 method is to facilitate effective communication without consuming too much time. Your update should only take 15 minutes to create and 5 minutes to read. Use bullet points, headers, and subheadings to make it skimmable. Your team will appreciate the brevity and clarity.
- Share it with your team: Use email, a shared document platform, or any other communication tool that works for your team. Welcome feedback and encourage team members to create their own to share! By proactively providing updates, you create awareness and open up options for further discussion.
The 15/5 method is a straightforward and efficient approach to keep conversations and projects moving forward. It’s a consistent touch-point team members can count on to keep them in the know. Try it and see how this method can streamline communication and foster collaboration in remote work settings.