Stop confusion by ensuring everyone is clear on who does what, who needs to help, who has approval/veto
Have you ever had the situation where you've been involved in a discussion that went along the lines of
"I thought you were doing that" or
"Nobody told me about that. If you'd asked me I would have said that wouldn't have worked because of these problems...." or
"I'm busy", while they are sitting around twiddling their thumbs
Conversations such as these indicate you may need to make use of a tool known as the Responsibility ('R') Chart.
The R-Chart enables you to engage your team members in discussions about responsibility for activities and decisions that the team must make. In other words you are deciding who does what, who needs to help and who has approval/veto power.
Creating your R-Chart can lead to very robust, and sometimes time-consuming, conversations. But, at the end of the process you have a richness of understanding and clarity in the team that can transform performance rapidly.
I have witnessed a team that, within a three month period, went from confusion and inefficiency to improving their productivity by a factor of three and team morale soared.
The Responsibility Chart can be used:
Let's take a look at each step in more detail ...
You need to decide if you are going to create the R-Chart:
As you can guess there are advantages and disadvantages to each approach. A lot will depend upon the outcome you want to achieve as to which method you choose.
For example, if you had listed the following, as your desired outcomes for putting together a Responsibility Chart:
then your only option, to be truly successful, would be to complete the R-Chart process as an entire team. Using a scale of 'high', 'medium' and 'low' the table below provides an indication of what you can expect:
As the R-Chart is developed, particularly when the team is engaged in creating it, there are often many powerful and enlightening discussions. You can literally see light bulbs go off around the room as people gain a fuller understanding of what has to happen, in order for the end product or service to be produced.
You witness people start to question why a specific task or decision, needs to occur as it does, and whether that is the most efficient way for the team to operate.
Once you've decided how you are going to create your Responsibility Chart the next step is to:
It's best to set the matrix up in Excel, for ease of editing later. Across the top row list each role in the team. Down the left-hand column list the activities/decisions that are performed by the team. It is best to start with large chunks and then break down into smaller activities. For example:
Now comes the interesting part. Here you begin to indicate who currently has the "R", "I", "S" and/or "V".
It becomes quite apparent through this process where there are inefficiencies or confusion.
For example, it might be, that team members believe when one person resigns from their team, and they are going to recruit a replacement, that the HR function might only need to be informed. Whereas, the HR function might believe, they should approve each and every recruitment activity, regardless of whether it is a replacement or newly created role.
Or, maybe the team believes the Quality Control Manager is responsible for approving all goods put on hold, whereas the QC Manager believes s/he should only be informed, after the goods have been put on hold.
As indicated earlier, the R-Chart process can prompt some fascinating discussions that could lead to conflict initially. Thankfully, if you keep working through the process, it eventually leads to clarity and allows for the development of the appropriate processes and systems for the team to function effectively and efficiently.
Certainly it is a process that takes time, but it is time that well spent.
Keep these guidelines in mind as you decide any changes to be made:
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