In spite of sometimes disastrous consequences for businesses and organizations, it’s amazing how often they miss creating clear roles and responsibilities for their employees. There are many reasons for this, one big one being that there’s just so much to do merely to stay on track that taking the time to create written, clear job descriptions seems like a waste of time. It’s not, though.
Creating clear roles and responsibilities for every employee, from the CEO on down, usually greatly improves efficiency and effectiveness. You reduce redundancy—two or more people working on parts of the same projects without coordinating. You decrease things falling through the cracks, where people assume someone else is doing something and so fail to do it themselves. You decrease the chance of conflicts, where several people or departments feel they have the power to make certain decisions or allocate certain amounts of manpower or funds to the same areas. You increase the chances that the organization stays on a clear path to fulfilling its vision and mission and doesn’t go on costly side-tracks. You even decrease personality conflicts.
How to Create Clear Roles and Responsibilities
Here are some requirements to creating clear roles and responsibilities:
- Do an analysis of the kinds of roles and responsibilities the organization needs to thrive.
- Do an analysis of the kinds of people that would be competent or even talented at fulfilling these roles and responsibilities.
- Be aware of who is already employed at the organization, in which positions they are employed, and whether their personalities, skills and/or talents match their positions. If they don’t currently have the skills, think about whether they can reasonably be trained to acquire them, and how many resources would be required. It’s often beneficial to an organization—and to organizational morale—to keep people with a history in the organization instead of hiring new people to fill positions.
- Write down very detailed and specific areas of responsibility, limits of power, and tasks to be performed.
- Delegate these areas of responsibility to specific departments and, within them, to specific people.
- Create a “water-tight” structure to enforce and follow up, to ensure that those departments and specific individuals are given the authority to fully take on their areas of responsibility, that no one can sabotage their work by doing end-runs around them or supersede their authority, and that there is regular oversight to make sure that the individuals tasked with areas of responsibility know how to do their work and are doing it efficiently and effectively.
Wishing you–and your organization–a free and joyous life,