Shine In Your Next Forecast Session By Going Back To School

DA Report Card on Zuma

Currently working a short while away in S Africa, the local news has delighted in covering the small but growing Opposition deliver its annual “Cabinet Report Card” on the government.

As an outsider, it’s difficult to see much merit in the ANC legislation. Little vision and even less action. Unsurprisingly for a party not in power, their presented report card was largely damning. Yet two ministers did gain Grade A. Take a bow, Health and Science & Technology.

It was also impressively detailed. The 81-page assessment gave rise to the headline grabbing F Fail grade for President Zuma.

A man who thinks it’s acceptable, indeed a cultural and heritage right, to be polygamous, allow his administration to squander over US$20 million on his personal home, have unprotected sex with an HIV+ relative so long as he showered after and ignore what a judge called a “fundamentally corrupt” relationship with a jailed associate. In fact, this list could go on.

Perhaps it’s hardly surprising that his judgement is so keenly called in to question by his political adversaries. They cite “5 major crises” during this term.

This press release was timed to coincide with the country’s first day back for the new school year. Here, the school and calendar years are the same, unlike my Northern Hemisphere homeland.

What struck me about the so-called ‘report card’ though, was it looked nothing like a report card.

Which is a crying shame.

A report card as I remember it, was a piece of design genius.

Everything on one single page. All easy to see at a glance. And if you wanted to drill down a touch, you had a couple of ways to see the detail.

This doc was simply a page by page list.

Marking was framed by five angles;

Policy direction
Attitude and attendance
Admin, finance and organisational skills
The bottom line
Looking ahead

And at the front there was an explanation of the grading system.

Yet no easy-to-grasp summary.

What a trick to miss.

Such a simple idea to implement. And one with surely massive impact.

It’d whizz round the web. In a way a 48meg (really!) pdf cannot.

(Especially in a country more akin to the Western bandwidth of the late 90s, at best. By way of demonstrating barriers, from my mobile phone provider here downloading that much data would cost me US$3. Incredible. And more than enough to put off being read by those who are presumably a key target market. Whereas a few kilobyte graphic…)

Anyway. Back to this single page report card idea in solution sales.

It may not be your back to school time, but terms and academic year start and break-up are frequent. I think it’d be a nice idea to shine at a forecast session using this framework.

Show you’re really on top of what’s going on with the business you aim to write.

The format is simple. Each prospect has a row. And the columns are key criteria to gauge closing likelihood. If you (as I hope you do) know your own process or use a corporate one, then these are the column headings. You should only really need a similar number to the five used by the politicians above.

Then in the final column, in bigger, redder font, the letter. Your overall grade for the account.

If you’re a sales manager by the way, then this also gives great scope to freshen up this often dull procedure.

When the next term starts or your kids are about to go on hols, issue a format yourself and ask for it to be completed by all for the upcoming forecast reviews.

Different is good. And it’ll show who really is on the ball.

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