Here’s the takeaway: Each role should be accountable for three to five responsibilities, not 87.
As leaders, it’s our obligation to make sure that everybody knows what they’re supposed to do. If two people are accountable for an organization’s function, nobody’s accountable. Only one person can be accountable at any one time for a task. So, when a position is clarified so that people generally know what they’re accountable for, this enables people in the right seat to embrace and excel in that position. I often see a shift that will happen over and over again as the clarity occurs. The right people will do great, and the wrong people will self-select out or into a different position. When leaders manage their teams while their roles are clear, this structure allows the leaders to then elevate and delegate people into positions so that everyone is using their best and natural God-given abilities.
So, how do you “clarify” positions to hold people accountable for what they’re really best at? When we visualize the ideal structure for a similar company (if you missed the earlier post on visualization, read it here), the objective is to identify and create the ideal structure that the company will need to succeed in the next 12-18 months.
First, your team decides which seats need to exist on the leadership team. Then, we identify the 3-5 most important things that each seat has to do, what they’re accountable for. I don’t care about titles. I stay away from titles. All I want to know is what responsibilities those seats are accountable for. Generating leads? Making X number of sales calls? Making sure the trains run on time?
It’s important for everyone to know what they’re really expected to do and I feel as leaders, it is our obligation to make this as simple and clear as possible. What are the just the three to five most important things they have to do really well, every time, not the 87 things that are part of their job? When they know what those are, they can truly own them. I use the example of a football team. The center of a football team has to do four things really, really well. He has to read the line, he has to listen, move the ball, and move people. That’s about it. Of course, he has to do other things in order to be a successful center, like show up on time, eat the proper nutrition, and get enough sleep. But at the end of the day, if he can do his four things really, really well, he gives his team the opportunity to win. It doesn’t mean that the team is guaranteed to win, but it means that he has shown up and given them the opportunity to do so.
When we identify the 3-5 most important things for each person in the basic structure, then we can bring it back and start putting people in those seats based on what that seat is accountable for. It always comes down to having the right people in the right seats.
If you think that your organization, or someone you know, could benefit from making your executive roles clearer, feel free to reach out anytime, no obligations. Accountability is key.