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Whose Job Is It, Anyway?

Setting clear lines of accountability will empower your team to act within their authority level.

To someone unfamiliar with a #startup environment, it may seem like the Wild West. The CEO is overly accessible. Human Resources is a goal on a whiteboard. A salary is available, but health insurance is not. Another probable sighting in such a space is an ambiguous accountability structure.

“Whether a particular function is addressed internally or through an external vendor, it’s important to be clear on who is accountable for what."

Most small companies do not build out a #leadership team initially - and for good reason. In the early stages, a company needs “doers” to build the scaffolding. It isn’t atypical for ten of said doers to report directly to the CEO. This structure could be practical and suitable for quite some time before it completely bottoms out - but that crash happens hard and fast for a few reasons.

  1. The CEO will absolutely struggle with fatigue. When it’s no one’s job, it’s the leader’s job.

  2. There are no clear growth paths for the doers to #promote into leadership roles, yielding a lack of responsibility and accountability.

  3. The skills needed to complete certain tasks may not be present within the organization yet, overstretching (and under-developing) everyone.

Whether a particular function is addressed internally or through an external vendor, it’s important to be clear on who is accountable for what. This doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task and can even include heavy input from the team. Start with some basics.

  1. What functions are absolutely essential to the success of the business? Start with things like finance, marketing, legal, HR - the overall business operations. Then zoom out into speciality areas applicable to your business like engineering, customer service, and/or design.

  2. Who is currently filling this need? This exercise will show just how many balls each person is juggling. To note - just because someone is filling that role does not mean they should continue, leading to our next point.

  3. Who should be filling this need? If someone is successfully filling the role, consider officially assigning that function to them. If a function is being filled by someone who is already accountable for several other functions, consider reassigning to someone else.

Often, smaller companies aren’t sure they need a full time employee to fill a function. Outsourced, #fractional resources can help keep things on track until the time comes to hire internally.

Need help with establishing role clarity and accountability? Let CREO Growth Solutions help! Schedule a free discovery call to learn more.

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