Do you have a Diamond in the Rough?

In a recent EOS session, I had a client who was hitting a ceiling in their business because their current structure blurred the lines of communication and ownership of their roles and responsibilities. Decisions were taking too long to make and things were not getting done. Sound familiar?

“The root of all evil is in the Accountability Chart” by Gino Wickman

What’s an Accountability Chart?

My friend and colleague, Ed Callahan, described the difference between an organizational chart versus an accountability chart really well in his article as follows:

  • Organizational charts are focused on who reports to who, but they typically don’t address one of the major issues most companies struggle with: a lack of clarity around what the major functions of the organization are, and who is accountable for what.
  • Accountability charts provide clarity about who owns the major functions of an organization and identifies the primary roles and responsibilities for which they are accountable.

My client’s situation is not uncommon. Too many times, as organizations grow, we add people without clarifying roles and responsibilities since we need a warm body to do whatever we need them to do. This process repeats and the company eventually has an organizational chart that doesn’t make sense. Companies start creating roles to mitigate the weaknesses or leverage the strengths of their existing teams, limiting themselves to their current talent (or lack thereof).

Structure First . . . People Second

It may sound counter-intuitive, but as companies grow, the executive team really needs to focus on the right structure first. Too often, companies create the structure around their existing people instead of defining the right structure that’s truly needed for the company to get to the next level. Enter the Accountability Chart!

Watch this short 3 minute video on how to create your Accountability Chart.

Business Job Titles: Developing a Company Accountability Chart

There are 2 very important ground rules when creating your Accountability Chart with your leadership team:

  1. Look ahead at least 6 months to 1 year on what your leadership team thinks is the right structure to get your company to the next level.
  2. Forget about how you did it in the past and who sits in various seats in your organization currently. Everyone must act as if they are on the board of directors of the company. Nobody owns a seat at this time in this exercise.

When you do this, it forces you to think structure first, people second. In the beginning, companies can get by with good people. However, good people in the wrong structure is a recipe for failure. Jim Collins states, “Right People, Right Seats” and you have to have both. The Accountability Chart helps you define the right seats so you can work towards getting the right people in them.

The Diamond in the Rough

Back to my client example above. I took them through the Accountability Chart exercise. They were scratching their heads because once they defined the right structure for the organization, they were stuck in their mindset that one of the owners had to sit in the Integrator role (the one who manages the day to day aspect of the business, integrating all core functions). Finally, one of the owners said, “Truthfully, John is more suited to fill that seat than I am. We know he exhibits the core values and his background fits him well in that seat.” It was as if a light bulb came on in all the leaders’ heads in that session. Everyone agreed that he was the obvious choice, even his peers that were at equal levels at that time.

That is a true example of a team working for the greater good of the organization, putting egos aside, and acting as a board of directors with a fiduciary duty to the company. They discovered a diamond in the rough!

A Diamond in your Rough Structure?

Imagine your organization with a crystal clear Accountability Chart that was created for the greater good of the organization to take it to the next level. Have you put your egos aside to define the right structure that will help you break through the ceiling? Is your leadership team acting as a board of directors or are they protecting their own title or role, even if it’s dysfunctional?

Do you have a diamond in the rough that could emerge from an Accountability Chart exercise? Maybe it’s time to challenge your current structure for a healthier organization!

Take the Organizational Checkup to gauge the health of your company! For more information on creating a healthy business lifestyle, read about the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS).

To Your Business Health!

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