Good reporting means providing business information that can be acted upon at the time when it is needed. In other words, a report that is value-adding should collect a series of facts that help answer a question.

In my case, the question was this: what do we need to know to control the achievement of our monthly sales targets? 

Here is how I explained my little sister what money is: 

Imagine we live in a world without money. You need someone to clean your house today and I am your neighbour who would be happy to do it. You promise me a basket of apples in the autumn for doing you this favour. Then one month later I meet someone who makes carpets and I realize I need the carpet more than the apples.

This Thursday I flew from Aarhus to Oslo and one of the flight attendants was a trainee. She was going to give the safety instructions and she was very excited, a bit nervous and somewhat clumsy. Although it seemed to me that those gestures are the most natural thing in the world, I realized that they are not. The seat belt only closed on her second attempt and the life vest was initially the other way around.

Some say you don’t truly understand something until it actually happens to you. And there is a big difference between knowing something and understanding it. I imagine that people who are really good at what they are doing are so because they truly get it, they understood that part in a way others didn’t. But how did they get there? Is it their passion, their spark, what is it that got them there?

One thing that I keep in the back of my head is how could I reduce the work I’m doing today. It sounds a bit strange, but to a large extent my work is there because the organisation has a need to fulfill. So, I wonder how could I solve that need to the point where I am not needed anymore.

Here is an example that came to my mind while I was on a group trip last week. We were six people and we didn’t have much of a plan, so we had to figure out things on the way. Things like: Where are we going today? What do we eat? When to wake up? Who takes the bill? Who goes to the store? And so on...

We tend to believe that the more we know, the more we will understand. We want more facts, more details, more numbers, more of whatever that would make us smarter. But what really makes us smarter is thinking and thinking is hard. Seeking data is easier than thinking, so we tend to go that way.

I used to be a big supporter of the idea that the more information I have at hand, the better I will understand how things come together. And so I dig in, get the data and figure out how that number became what it became. At this point I have already the first issue.