Are your employees clear about who’s in charge?
Who reports to whom?
Are there clear guidelines about who can tell someone else what to do, and can they comment on the way they are doing it?
Do your employees know what is expected of them?
If we accept that any system consists of a collection of elements that produce a specific result, then the question you should ask yourself is: What is your Management System?
If you want an employee to do something, your chances of it actually being done increase if these two critical conditions exist:
- They understand how it is in their best interest to do it.
- You make it as clear as possible what it is you want them to do, by when, and what it will look like when it’s done.
Graphing your management system
The overall goal of your Management System is to deliver accountability through your people.
Your Management System begins with an Organizational Strategy – the centerpiece of which is your Organizational Chart. How is this part of your strategy?
Your Organizational Chart is the schematic of your plan for always making the most of your people in building and running the systems that produce and/or deliver whatever it is that your company promises.
Once you have a clearly defined Organizational Chart, you have the framework for understanding structurally what has to take place in every center of your company in order for it to successfully do what it needs to.
After completing this step, many of my coaching clients show up to their call feeling demoralized by seeing their name in most of the boxes – there is great value in seeing this alone.
After further coaching, they acknowledge that they also see more clearly the kind of work that must be done in the business every day – and they start to appreciate more graphically how they can begin to move their name out!
Clarifying the results of each function
The next component in your Management System is what EMyth refers to as Position Agreements.
This is not just another name for job descriptions. In fact, all too often, job descriptions build in restrictions and limits. People point to it as a reason NOT to do something: “That’s not in my job description.”
A Position Agreement on the other hand, can remove restrictions and open up the functions of a position. It is not a “to-do” list of tasks, it's an agreement to assume accountability for certain results.
The result statement of a position gives the position its direction – its goal.
Having clear result statements for each position on your Organizational Chart answers the question: Why does this position exist?
These statements let everyone know how the company benefits by having the position as well as clarifying how it relates to the overall business result.
We want the Manager to take the lead in developing the Position Agreements.
Why the Manager and not the Entrepreneur or Technician? One thing that distinguishes the Managerial mindset from that of the Technician’s and Entrepreneur’s is that the Manager holds results in their field of vision, along with an astute ability to identify the work itself.
While the Entrepreneur is also focused on results, this mindset is, generally speaking, more interested in the results as they relate to a final outcome. Easily bored with the mundane detail of the work itself, the Entrepreneurial mindset is often quickly distracted by the next shiny vision and desired outcome.
The Technician, on the other hand, is so caught up in the details that there is no distance. Instead of having an overview that identifies the nature of the work for which that position is accountable, the Technician is compelled to list details that are more appropriately used to document the process itself – ultimately useful, but not in a Position Agreement.
So, given that Position Agreements are written agreements between an employee and a manager to be accountable for achieving certain results, it is the Managerial mindset that drives their development.
A common stumbling block for clients when they first begin to craft Position Agreements is to try to tailor the agreement to the particular skills or interests of the person who currently holds that position.
In other words, they have created an Organizational Chart that depicts the company structure under ideal conditions, and then ignores it. They revert back to the comfort zone that says: “Well, I know I have this position here called ‘Office Manager,’ but Anne really does so much more than that. I’ll write a position agreement that describes everything she does.” Bad idea!
This simply keeps you on the path of people dependency. It perverts the structural clarity and intention of your new Organizational Chart and ignores the logical division of accountabilities that you worked so hard to achieve in the “flow chart.”
The accountabilities go with the position, and the person accepts the position with all its inherent accountabilities.
As your company goes through this transition of form and function, it is possible that “Anne” may theoretically hold multiple positions within that structure and agree to be accountable for the results that are outlined in several new position agreements.
Management by agreement and management by exception
A core principle in developing and maintaining working relationships that work is that you cannot hold someone accountable if there is no clarity about expectations. What kind of follow through is possible if there is no documentation and agreement with which to start?
The position agreement between employee and manager creates a solid foundation for working together to achieve extraordinary results in the business. It serves as a roadmap that guides managers to support employees in realizing their own success within the organization.