PRIME: Optimal number of direct reports

“What is the ideal number of direct reports (to you) and why?”

January 29, 2014

OUR PRIME advisory panel includes some of the remodeling industry’s best remodelers. This month we asked: “What is the ideal number of direct reports (to you) and why?”

Five, but meet at different frequencies

The short answer for me is five—consisting of marketing, sales, production, finance, and general management. The frequency of each report is a little different, however. As an example, sales and production are weekly reports, while marketing and finance happen during the first and third weeks monthly. The most frequent are daily meetings with general management. These discussions tend to be less structured and are typically about specific issues as they arise.

Bill Simone, President
Custom Design & Construction, El Segundo, CA


Five key employees critical to success

In our company, I have five direct reports. These five people manage the five main departments and profit centers that we measure the overall success of the company. The way we choose to operate our company and the pace we work would make additional direct reports an issue.

Nick Cogliani, President
NEWPRO, Woburn, MA


Seven plus three shared reports

I have seven direct reports (my management team) and three more (our location managers) with whom I share reporting. I meet weekly with my direct reports to discuss priorities and current issues. I think this is a number of reports that is manageable and leaves me the opportunity to pay attention to all in a meaningful way. Expanding it somewhat might be OK, but there are bandwidth issues that start to come into play and the quality of communications would suffer.

Tom Kelly, President
Neil Kelly Inc., Portland, OR


Five who meet as a group twice a month

I currently have five managers who report directly to me. These individuals have responsibility for each of the five departments in the company. We meet as a group at least twice a month to review both the results of the prior period and progress toward our monthly goals, and once a month to review financial results. This allows an open discussion between myself and the managers—all of whom have been with me for more than 10 years—to give their feedback on issues and come up with a plan of action for those areas that need improvement. 

Rob Levin, President
Statewide Remodeling, DFW, TX

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