Two Things That Can Save Your Company

June 30, 2015 Colin

So I’m sitting here at my computer trying to decided what to write about.  I have a topic that I planned on writing about but I’m a little off right now because of some stuff that just happened in the last couple of hours. So just to get some stuff off my chest I thought I would talk about some bad business situations that can drowned a business. There are obviously a ton of things that this topic can produce, but today I want to write about roles and holding people accountable.

There once was a business.  This business had a rare amount of potential and in fact has lived up to it a few times in it’s lifetime.  This business is in an industry that has a real unique stance.  It’s an industry that doesn’t really have down times or bad years.  It’s an all season all economic climate type of business.  I know, it sounds great right?!  Well here’s the catch, you can have the most amazing business idea or business model and you aren’t guaranteed that success!  Even in an industry so bulletproof as the one I’m referring too.

There isn’t really any guarantees in business, just calculated risks.  But when I say you aren’t guaranteed that success, I mean that  even with a great idea, great business model and even some great people.  You still have to be able to put together great systems and leadership that is good at being the right kind of leader.  And this brings me to my topic for this article.  You also have to have roles and accountability. 

There are a lot of other areas that can be talked about and expounded on but for this article let’s touch on these two.  Roles are key to a successful business, some would argue that they should be one of the pillars to a successful business. especially in a family business.  Family can be a nightmare to deal with, so why not get half the argument out of the way by defining a role for each person.  Roles can calm the chaos, they create a defined position for each person and keep overlapping to a minimum. Overlapping can create a very wavy ocean of problems.  If that person is doing the same thing or promising a different thing to the same customer and things aren’t collaborated properly then, well you can see were that’s going.  And like I was saying before, roles give definition to one’s purpose in the company.  Even and especially the owner/founder.  He/she must have a defined role or else they will get caught up doing busy work or worst micro managing their team.  Micro mananging  your team can cause a world of hurt for you company.  But proper leadership is another, very big topic. Not just staying out of your teams hair but you also get to continue your job as the owner.  You get to work on the business, not in it!  You should be growing your company not learning to hate it by doing mundane work or playing catch up all the time.  If you are a good leader everyone will be doing their part so you don’t have to get involved.  That’s the things about very specific roles, they give people their purpose without discrepancy.  They don’t waste time wondering who should be doing what or if they should be doing this, that, or the other thing.  They simply, already know what they are supposed to be doing.  And the biggest advantage to that is since they know specifically what they are supposed to be doing, they can now focus on that task.  Focus is a huge deal, I want to write another article focus.  Let’s put it this way, studies have shown that one hour of hyber-focus is more productive than the average 8 hour work day.

So, we have established that roles are great, right?!  Well here’s the thing about roles.  You can hand out roles like free hot cakes, all day long.  But there still needs to be a sense of accountability.  And what I mean by that is again a topic for the proper leader articles but it’s important to say that holding someone accountable doesn’t necessarily mean that you are watching them and jumping on them if they don’t get something done or produce crappy work. The true leader will teach someone to be accountable to themselves.  But even from a non leaders eye,  people need to know that they are accountable for their work, and not only that, but they need to care!  And in reality your not always going to have people who genuinely care about the company.  But it’s still important to make sure they know that they are held accountable for their work.  That another great thing about roles too.  When roles are defined then each person knows exactly what they will be held accountable for.  And that should be something that is addressed in the initial role assignment. “You are in charge of learning this client’s company, the in’s and out’s.  You will be accountable for interactions with them based on your research”.

Needless to say I think it’s important, if not one of the most important things you should tackle first in a company.  I think it might be important to mention that in a startup environment, defining very specific roles should be incorporated as needed.  Which is also a good gauge on the success of your startup.  But in an established company these things should be fixed immediately if they don’t exist.  And not just for show either.  Make sure that if someone has a job to do.  They need to know that, it’s their job and no one can be blamed if it doesn’t get done.

Great teams have purpose, defined roles, and the leader gives feedback.

Padraig O’ Sullivan