Monthly updates come in many sizes and shapes. Depending on the kind of work you do, you are often required to update your boss, your team, your board, your investors, your teacher, your representative or even your family on how you're doing. And it sucks to do it. Become when you’re preparing your monthly update, presenting it, getting feedback on it or answering questions related to it, you’re not doing your work, your craft, your art.
Or so you think.
I used to have a love-hate relationship with monthly updates. I was working in e-Commerce and we were required to call and report daily, weekly and monthly sales. I hated that because it took 80% of my time to report things that happened in the past. I felt everyone wanted a piece of my brain. I thought it was a waste of time to communicate to all these people the nitty-gritty details. I wanted to focus on building the future.
What I failed to see at that time was that 1) writing a memo (see related post on Andy Grove) reflecting on the past was an important part of building the future and 2) communicating frequently decreases the amount of uncertainty and in consequence, the number of information inquiries you receive. The monthly update – which consists of over communicating publicly or privately to a lot of people what’s going on, where are you in your plan and if you need help – is like putting money aside. It’s annoying to do but it pays off to do it regularly. The interested compound.
Reference: there’s a really good section in Jason Calacanis book ‘Angel’ about monthly updates. His pretty honest about it and puts it bluntly: if he doesn’t get a monthly update from one of his companies, he assumes the company is simply not going well. 99% of the time, it means it will run out of money soon. 1% of the time, they’re just too busy doing great things.
I just wrote to my partners at Elevent & Le Buck suggesting we should step up our monthly update game. I will do the same and setup one with my bandmates and partners in The Moonlight Club. And I will do the same with for friends/family/advisors involved at Highlow. The types of update will be different in all cases – ranging from a serious two-pager with lots of number to having a beer and discussing ideas – but the meaning is the same.