I’ve talked before about how I email clients at the beginning and end of every week. I really hope you’ve started to do that with your own clients. This simple action will pay off big-time, because your clients will think you’re awesome since you take such good care of them.

Let’s now take this a step further. Let me introduce you to the idea of a 5-15, which I first heard of in Growing a Business.


A 5-15 is a weekly update done by each person at your company. It should take no longer than 15 minutes to write and 5 minutes to read.

Each team member passes their 5-15 up to their team leaders. Team leaders will pass them up to the next level of management, and management passes them up to the C suite.

No one person should have more than 10 to 15 updates to read.


When you write a 5-15, begin with a weekly report on what you did that week. It doesn’t have to be long (remember you should be able to write the whole thing in 15 minutes), but cover all the tasks you completed during the week.

Next, you should describe — bluntly — your morale and the morale of the people in your department.

Lastly, you should have one idea that will improve your job or your department.

For those in charge

The biggest danger with these reports is that you really don’t want to read them and punish anyone that’s actually honest. If someone says that morale is low in their department, the correct response is not anger or cracking down on things. The correct response is to sit down and dig into the problem deeper, then figure out how to fix it.

Maybe there is a change to make in the department. Maybe the department is being led by the wrong person.

You also need to actually act on the ideas provided, not just ‘take them into consideration’. These employees you’re in charge of are closer to the customer than you are, and as such have a perspective you don’t. They are closer to the problems.

Make a commitment to act on one suggestion in each department each week and give the person making the suggestion the tools they need to actually work on it. Maybe it’s time, maybe it’s resources.


The biggest caution I can give you is that if you’ve never done these before, get ready for lots of things that need to be fixed. But by fixing things, you get what you ultimately want — an awesome, well-running company.

Dig in and fix things. Make your employees feel valued, and you’re going to get lifelong people that love you and will stick with you during the hard times.

photo credit: podruzny cc