Leaders in almost every profession focus on improving results. Usually, "improving results" means taking a keener look at current strategy. Businesses examine marketing strategy to boost profits in different markets, governments analyze military strategy when faced with challenges to national security, and educators re-think teaching strategy when student performance starts to dip. Professionals in these and other fields catalogue the results from these studies in strategy reports.

Start with an executive summary. Identify the subject. Then introduce the current strategy and explain the report's angle. For example, an executive summary for a strategy report on improving student test scores might read, "Standardized test scores of students at Madison Regional High School are near the state average."

Discuss the current strategy and explain why it needs another look. Then state the report's purpose. For example, "District supervisors say they would like to see test results improve. The high school's teachers usually start in January to prepare students for the end-of-year tests. This report considers whether a change in teaching strategy might better ready students for the new standardized assessments."

Write an overview. Provide historical background of the subject. Identify key players. Divide the subject into sub-topics with separate headings.

Describe performance indicators used to measure results. For example, in a report measuring the performance of a computer's file server, the Edison Group identified "Net Bench" as a common measurement of file server capability. The report then described the specific tests that were performed and the results of each.

Analyze the methodology used to make conclusions. Explain why the metrics used are appropriate for the subject matter. In the example about improving student test scores, you might identify the different methods used to evaluate preparation for standardized tests and explain how these methods produced reliable results in other school districts.

Rate the accuracy of strategy findings. Explain why your results are dependable. Discuss inconsistencies, if any, and explain why they don't contradict the report's conclusions.

Present findings in a format most appropriate for the subject matter. For example, use a numbered list of concise text summaries if reporting on strategies to modify student behavior. Use a graph or table for results that report numbers and dollar amounts.

Finish the strategy report with conclusions that support or reject the current strategy. Restate the purpose of the report in the form of a question. For example, "If students prepare for standardized tests in September, will their scores improve?" Then answer the question in one sentence. Continue with a discussion of the key facts supporting the conclusion.