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If your boss hasn't worked out their problems then your report will fall on deaf ears.

If he does understand it then a report informing him of what he knows is pointless.

If you have some insightful ideas to make things better then get writing; I suggest you max 4 pages, just headline the issues and your solutions.

Although wonderpup is sneering at the concept, actually the only useful contribution IS a solution. There are loads of people who can just moan and say it's all [email protected] (often they spend a lot of time on internet forums doing just that.........).

Well my 2p worth from experience in the IT industry is that going into solution mode without adequately scoping the problem is the standard mistake all managements make particularly in the UK. I have lost count of the number of 'Red Teams' formed to investigate some project disaster that have wasted thousands of man hours and hundreds of thousands of pounds putting in inadequate or pointless fixes because panicking bosses were not prepared to allow staff time to do proper analysis of the issues. Properly understanding any problem is the key to any solution. But then in my experience that unless the manager has real financial skin in a company's success they most likely will be spending 90% of their time managing their careers and only 10% on the business. My advice would be to scope out the issues and their most likely causes then list possible solutions. Whether you present them to your boss is a harder judgement call since it depends whether he spends much time in the 'reality based community' or prefers La La land. At least you will know you have done your best and the information may be useful if you have to seek a job elsewhere and the first question at the interviews is why your previous company failed.

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Reminds me of a discussion with the marketing director of the UK arm of a German building products manufacturer. Each year they'd raise the sales target, each year the UK arm would beat it - sooner or later the marketing director knew that figure would be smashed to the downside and he'd have to explain it, he knew damn well the bubble was beautifying the numbers far more than any planned marketing or normal demand could justify.

Edited by OnlyMe
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Look, there's a lot of contradictory advice on here but if you boil all the [email protected] off you're left with a few things;

1. If you believe the company will fail without change then you're losing your job anyway, so nothing more to lose is there?

2. If your boss is part of the solution then level with him, if he isn't then find out who is and talk to them.

3. If you want to be seen as a pencil pushing clerk then act like one; write bland reports. If you believe you are something more than that then act like it. The report doesn't have to be beautifully crafted, it just needs to show maturity about the market and competitive position you're in and a sensible way forward.

4. Don't rely on a written report; what will matter is if you can articulate your views in a rational, calm and useful way. Nobody gives a sh1t about panic-striken doomsayers, they are a waste of breath.

5. Make sure that part of your solution involves you doing stuff, that it's not just a list of stuff other people should do better. Nobody likes the guy who just points the finger.

Hell, depending on how thorough your work is and how clear you are about what you can do to implement it you may get given the job of doing it, or at least pulled onto the team of the guy who will.

There are people on this thread telling you to play it safe. Ignore them unless they can tell you how that worked out so well for them. Actually, scrub that. Just ignore them.

I partly agree with you say but if the op has to ask how to approach his boss or write the report then he clearly doesnt know him well enough to level with him over a cup of coffee and a packet of hob nobs.

There is a time for seizing the moment and having big balls but personally, I dont believe that it is right now in this climate. May be it isnt a problem for the op and he could walk into another job anytime.

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I partly agree with you say but if the op has to ask how to approach his boss or write the report then he clearly doesnt know him well enough to level with him over a cup of coffee and a packet of hob nobs.

There is a time for seizing the moment and having big balls but personally, I dont believe that it is right now in this climate. May be it isnt a problem for the op and he could walk into another job anytime.

I didn't say it had to be the boss. If he's no use then go to the big boss. They tend to be quite receptive to people who can help them.

And it's always time for big balls. They're great at preventing regret later on.

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I didn't say it had to be the boss. If he's no use then go to the big boss. They tend to be quite receptive to people who can help them.

And it's always time for big balls. They're great at preventing regret later on.

I suppose I am in a unique position in that I can make unpopular recommendations and all they do is make me bullet proof. If they are unpopular, usually due to cost then they are ignored. But when something fails it never comes back to me so long as I made the recommendation about how to avoid/correct an issue. The brown stuff definitely rolls up hill for me.

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Your boss is looking out for his own ****.

There is nothing you can say or do. And anything you do say or do, will not make any difference. But that does not mean you should not compile a report and say or do something anyway....

In every company there is someone who everyone knows does not pull his weight.

So long as there is someone who is next in line for the axe, and its not you, then you are ok.

Try to keep this poor ******* employed in your company for as long as possible..

Keep him between yourself and the boss. As long as he is there, you are safe.

Your SD is a to55er, who will take the flak from his superiors, and instead of choosing how and what to filter constructively down to his team.

He will instead pass the full force of the sh1t he gets directly onto you. [That's what happened to him when he was in your shoes]

All you can do is spend year after year learning about all these stereotypes. [ive just given you a couple]

Then decide to tell them all to [email protected] off and go self employed. :lol:

Edited by Dan1
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How does someone with the grand title of 'senior financial analyst' end up on an internet forum asking for advice on writing a report? The mind boggles.

A couple of glasses of wine, and the desire to canvas opinion from a bunch of people who, the majority of which I respect for the knowledge, experience and differing views they bring to this site.

For those that have constructively contributed, thanks very much, and I hope other readers also gained some valuable views and pointers for if they ever find themselves in a simillar situation.

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A boss was forced to make a redundancy...He wasnt sure who, so he observed the business and came to a department that appeared overmanned. He then set about observing the two employees, Jack and Jill.

He watched as Jack came in early, worked hard through his coffee break, arrived back from lunch 10 minutes early, and worked through till late in the evening. Next he watched as Jill came in 10 minutes late, stopped for chats at the photcopier, the fax and the ladies..She also slipped out to the chemist twice for aspirins and slipped off work early.

So the boss made his decision and called Jill to his office.

"Im sorry Jill, but having observed you at your work, Im going to either lay you or Jack off".

Jill replies, while applying lipstick, "well, youd better jack off cos I have a headache".

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A boss was forced to make a redundancy...He wasnt sure who, so he observed the business and came to a department that appeared overmanned. He then set about observing the two employees, Jack and Jill.

He watched as Jack came in early, worked hard through his coffee break, arrived back from lunch 10 minutes early, and worked through till late in the evening. Next he watched as Jill came in 10 minutes late, stopped for chats at the photcopier, the fax and the ladies..She also slipped out to the chemist twice for aspirins and slipped off work early.

So the boss made his decision and called Jill to his office.

"Im sorry Jill, but having observed you at your work, Im going to either lay you or Jack off".

Jill replies, while applying lipstick, "well, youd better jack off cos I have a headache".

LOL. Did Jack and Jill work in an EA?

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I suppose I am in a unique position in that I can make unpopular recommendations and all they do is make me bullet proof. If they are unpopular, usually due to cost then they are ignored. But when something fails it never comes back to me so long as I made the recommendation about how to avoid/correct an issue. The brown stuff definitely rolls up hill for me.

What do you do? Sounds like the Risk Manager or something.

At least you can talk from experience, as can I. I happen to be the guy in charge and it always makes me smile when people say that such people don't want people who rock the boat - my own perspective is that I want people who help strengthen the business, and nothing else such as unpleasant news matters.

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Although wonderpup is sneering at the concept, actually the only useful contribution IS a solution. There are loads of people who can just moan and say it's all [email protected] (often they spend a lot of time on internet forums doing just that.........).

Reality is not in itself a problem to be 'solved'- though acquaintance with it can be helpful in the formulation of solutions to real world problems.

You demonstrate precisely the mindset I sought to highlight, the reflex assumption that the problem lies in the messenger and not in the message.

The OP is taking a risk, IMO, because they might be seen not as someone making a valuable contribution by pointing out the facts, but as someone who is just moaning and saying it's all crap- as you yourself make clear.

What if there is no solution- does this negate the value of pointing out the reality of that fact?

Edited by wonderpup
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Reality is not in itself a problem to be 'solved'- though acquaintance with it can be helpful in the formulation of solutions to real world problems.

You demonstrate precisely the mindset I sought to highlight, the reflex assumption that the problem lies in the messenger and not in the message.

The OP is taking a risk, IMO, because they might be seen not as someone making a valuable contribution by pointing out the facts, but as someone who is just moaning and saying it's all crap- as you yourself make clear.

What if there is no solution- does this negate the value of pointing out the reality of that fact?

wtf are you on about? "Reality is not a problem to be solved"? Sometimes you appear to make it up as you go along.

If there is no solution there is no value to the message. Absolutely correct. You obviously believe it can be a valuable message so could you explain the value.

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wtf are you on about? "Reality is not a problem to be solved"? Sometimes you appear to make it up as you go along.

If there is no solution there is no value to the message. Absolutely correct. You obviously believe it can be a valuable message so could you explain the value.

You have a point about the value of the message. Within any organisation as you got up the scale each level up should have an increasing appreciation of wider factors, economics and whole economy issues that might affect their business. It shold be pretty obvious what is going on here. If the query ad been toned in regards is there anything outside of the general economic conditions that is losing us competitiveness / income compared to rival companies then that would be a different issue. I go back tothe example I gave earlier - the marketing guy obviously saw the situation he was in but there was no way he could think of relaying the message above and beyond what he had already done - the targets just kept being raised and rised with the bubble and he knew it was going to burst.

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You have a point about the value of the message. Within any organisation as you got up the scale each level up should have an increasing appreciation of wider factors, economics and whole economy issues that might affect their business. It shold be pretty obvious what is going on here. If the query ad been toned in regards is there anything outside of the general economic conditions that is losing us competitiveness / income compared to rival companies then that would be a different issue. I go back tothe example I gave earlier - the marketing guy obviously saw the situation he was in but there was no way he could think of relaying the message above and beyond what he had already done - the targets just kept being raised and rised with the bubble and he knew it was going to burst.

That's an interesting one. It would be of great value because it would help to know that the most profitable path would be to exploit the situation but plan for efficient and low-cost shutdown as soon as TSHTF.

That would be a solution too.

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wtf are you on about? "Reality is not a problem to be solved"? Sometimes you appear to make it up as you go along.

If there is no solution there is no value to the message. Absolutely correct. You obviously believe it can be a valuable message so could you explain the value.

You are about to unknowingly walk off a cliff- I point this fact out. However, my pointing this out will not negate the law of gravity.

There is no 'solution' to gravity- it is not a problem to be 'solved'. But being aware of the reality of your situation still has value to the degree that you can employ this expanded knowledge of reality to determine your actions.

Was my pointing out to the reality of your situation an example of 'negativity' or was it a useful contribution to your world view?

I offer no 'solution' to gravity- simply observe its existence.

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If you are going to write that kind of report (and I've written a couple) you need to ensure that when it gets discussed there are no surprises in it.

By that I mean that you should already have discussed the problems, sounded out solutions (what my old boss called "socialising the issues") checked for objections with those people who have stopping power. Ideally you will have specific agreement on issues and actions.

The report should be the crystallisation of all that work, an item around which authorisation can coalesce to get your proposals through.

Agree with some of the posts above you can't expect to be able to drop a report on a desk saying "fyi we're fecked" with a favourable response. But if you do the groundwork properly you can make people face reality and if you have solutions get them into play.

Just my two pennies, may not apply to your role.

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That's an interesting one. It would be of great value because it would help to know that the most profitable path would be to exploit the situation but plan for efficient and low-cost shutdown as soon as TSHTF.

That would be a solution too.

IIRC he'd already relayed the message the year before, to no response other than raised sales targets, hence his pensiveness regarding the situation!

You're right though I suppose that would be a solution, make hay whilst the sun shines and but have the scythe ready for other duties.

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You are about to unknowingly walk off a cliff- I point this fact out. However, my pointing this out will not negate the law of gravity.

There is no 'solution' to gravity- it is not a problem to be 'solved'. But being aware of the reality of your situation still has value to the degree that you can employ this expanded knowledge of reality to determine your actions.

Was my pointing out to the reality of your situation an example of 'negativity' or was it a useful contribution to your world view?

I offer no 'solution' to gravity- simply observe its existence.

Er... the solution was to stop walking, which the observation of the drop handily alerted us to. Just like the solution to a market crisis is to do something different, not to suspend the P&L account or disavow the need for liquidity.

Like I say, observation without solution is without value.

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You are about to unknowingly walk off a cliff- I point this fact out. However, my pointing this out will not negate the law of gravity.

There is no 'solution' to gravity- it is not a problem to be 'solved'. But being aware of the reality of your situation still has value to the degree that you can employ this expanded knowledge of reality to determine your actions.

Was my pointing out to the reality of your situation an example of 'negativity' or was it a useful contribution to your world view?

I offer no 'solution' to gravity- simply observe its existence.

The problem in your scenario is not gravity, it is walking off a cliff.

Sure there is some value in pointing out that gravity exists but its pretty low value. Higher value is pointing out that you are walking towards a cliff, higher still is offering an alternate route.

Who wants to be low value?

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wtf are you on about? "Reality is not a problem to be solved"? Sometimes you appear to make it up as you go along.

If there is no solution there is no value to the message. Absolutely correct. You obviously believe it can be a valuable message so could you explain the value.

Sometimes knowing there is no solution is also useful. Stops people wasting time looking for one.

Putting that to one side, the frequency with which the advice that has been given here, approximating to "you've been asked to give some bad news, better start looking for a new job", suggests that the UK is doomed. How can businesses function when everyone thinks this way? Absolutely pathological.

Having said that, my experience has been that in most businesses this is pretty good advice. Sorry Bogbrush, but you are unusual. Just about every boss I have worked for has been completely delusional, including those with a LOT of skin in the game, such as their house, marriage, and all their friendships. It is amazing the mental contortions people will go through to avoid having to deal with cognitive dissonance.

This is why I now work for myself.

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