Leadership Solutions: 5-15s

Accountability from managers comes down to one simple element-measurement. Peter Drucker said it best-“What gets measured, gets done.” Whether it concerns increasing average checks, successful budgeting, reducing labor costs, or monitoring safety to lower insurance premiums, systems are necessary to benchmark and measure performance. The critical element that makes these systems effective is the periodic progress report.

One such reporting system is the Weekly 5-15. Introduced by James Belasco, author of the best seller Flight of the Buffalo, the Weekly 5-15 is a single-page flash communication that supervisors and managers submit to the General Manager, Executive Chef or owner.

Aptly named, the 5-15 should take no longer than fifteen minutes to hand-write on a standardized form, and five minutes to read and understand. It addresses five key reporting issues, and provide the instant feedback that is crucial to smoothly functioning foodservice workplace.

Completed at the end of each week, the 5-15 should answer the following questions:

  1. What specific tasks did I accomplish this week that will make the restaurant more efficient and productive?
  2. What is my #1 priority action step for next week that will help me work smarter?
  3. What management practice, operating philosophy or employee problem needs to be fixed, changed or eliminated?
  4. What is my #1 focus for personal behavioral change?
  5. If I owned this business, what is the #1 change I would make today?

5-15’s are intended to help managers and supervisors think proactively, work smarter, not harder, and create a sense of involvement, teamwork and inclusion. They also reinforce the importance of regular and consistent feedback. Managers and supervisors who are required to set goals on a weekly basis will always perform at a higher level.

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