Unclear Roles May be Killing Your Company

posted in: Role Clarity | 0

Executives dedicate enormous resources on identifying factors that can drive company positive performance. They look at customer’s feedback and market research, product performance, technology efficiency, cost reduction opportunities, workforce performance, competitor’s qualities and market gaps, among others.   When looking into people factors, focus turns to people performance, competency levels and cost of jobs. Seldom, they look into role design, its link to work processes and financial performance.

Roles are an opportunity to assess its value to the company. Typically companies think of “how much this person costs?” and “can we eliminate this job?”. Then managers react with responses such as, “this person is a hard worker! Very committed, I need him/her!”.  The question is posed targeting the people, and the answer, the same.  It is wrong.

The assessment should be targeted to the purpose of the job, its key duties and link to company financial performance. The purpose aims to link the job to company strategy. Otherwise, why it exists?   Then the key duties aim to ensure that the job holds together the key activities that ensure the purpose becomes real.   The duties should include key performance metrics that are linked to company financial performance.  The three elements provide for role alignment to company performance.   This is not all. There is more.

Have you heard supervisors or managers say “I need to go to my boss to consult for this decision.” Typically, what this really means is “I need my boss to make a decision.”  Then the issue is that the boss thinks that the manager is “delegating up” what they should be deciding. This situation is a result of unclear accountabilities and decision making, at many levels in the same organization.

All roles should be clear on the type of decision making that the individuals in the job have. These levels of authorities clarify to people on which day to day activities they can make decisions. It also provides for clarity on who makes decisions that impact company strategy, customers, policies and people, among other matters.

Having unclear roles and accountabilities may be killing your company. Your problem may be closer than you think. It requires a simple process and people prepared take a quirurgical look at your company roles.  The result will be organizational transparency to identify strengths and improve gaps, and people behaving towards the results the company is expecting.  And remember, recognize and reward people for performance aligned to company targets, and lastly, celebrate individuals, teams and company financial performance.

For more, my book expands on additional factors and a process to align roles and organizational design to company expected performance.