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Overcoming org chart writer's block: Implied vs explained

This is the fourth installment in helping you fully develop and implement Org Charts and Position Agreements, which support a culture of ownership within your business. Click here for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Fully implementing your Position Agreements is an endeavor that requires simple steps over time. It starts with your Organization Chart, and it ends with your employees doing their work as well or better than you ever could.

Your Position Agreements will give you a way to open up communication with your employees, reinvigorate your staff and uncover situations that allow you to correct problems and improve your business. If you’ve been following this series, you’re connecting with your employees and should be seeing some positive results.

But let’s take an even closer look and see how your employees are actually adhering to their agreements.

Do I really have to tell them that?

Here’s the truth. While I gave you an outline with a number of ideas on how to have a clarifying conversation, I know how easy it is to just talk your employees through each step and get the head nod and feel like it all got through. Clearly, if your employees agreed or even wrote their Position Agreements, they must understand what you meant by it, right? Not always.

Starting perfect

What would it be like if your employees carried out 100% of the activities on their Position Agreements, 100% of the time, in the manner and with the quality you expect? What would it be worth to you? Would you be willing to spend a couple of years to get there?

Let me show you how to get there in one week.

How? You’re getting to know me now, so you know what I’m going to say—let’s start simple: What if the Position Agreements only include activities that your employees can absolutely complete successfully? I’ll start with an example to show how this works:

Suppose I ask my receptionist to commit to “arriving to the office at 8:00 a.m. every day.” That is the only item on the "Activity List."

  • We discuss what it means to be at work—appropriate dress, location, where she should station herself in the office.
  • We discuss what “on time” means.
  • We discuss her transportation plan and uncover any issues. Maybe she takes the bus and sometimes it’s late, so we discuss ways to ensure a timely arrival.
  • I ask what she needs from me so she can perform perfectly. She asks for keys to the building in case she arrives before anyone else. She wants to know what clock I’ll use to measure her timeliness.
  • I set the performance period for one week and we both sign the agreement.

This employee is my receptionist. She has been my receptionist and will continue to be my receptionist. She’ll continue to answer the phone and greet customers as she has been doing. However, the Position Agreement speaks only to her arrival time. I am setting her up to win. She knows how to arrive on time. It’s been fully explained in words between us. We have addressed potential issues and made it a commitment. What are the chances she will perform perfectly? I think they're high.

The other activities she performs are not yet part of her Position Agreement, but once we establish a pattern of success, we can add additional items. I’d like to be clear that we're not building ownership yet, because we haven't focused on results. What we're building is a pattern of communication and accountability. You want your employees to succeed, so set them up to succeed.

You don’t have to scrap your current Position Agreements. The point of my example is that you want every activity to be fully explained, trained, supported and agreed upon. As the work of each position comes into focus, the overall result and purpose of the position will make itself known.

Janet Beatty

Written by Janet Beatty

Janet is an EMyth Coach, teacher and speaker. She loves what small business does for its customers, employees, and community. She focuses on getting to the heart of your issues or opportunities to help you make the important changes needed.

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