- Pablo Picasso
I propose a reinvention of the concept of a job role. Traditionally, a job role is described as a set of specific tasks, duties, and responsibilities. I suggest greater value is created by replacing tasks, duties, and responsibilities with values, principles, and goals.
The problem is simple. Tasks, duties, and responsibilities are not always clearly and visibly related to value in both the economic and philosophical sense of the term.
Not only are job descriptions of limited, temporary value (leaving companies in a never ending hangover to keep them current), they don't actually help build a constructive state of mind, culture, or results. Traditional job descriptions are a footprint of trying to legally convert people into machines. I say embrace and guide rather than constrain variance.
Rather than compartmentalize accountability into uninspiring units, unleash creative capacity by enabling with values, principles, and goals.
So - throw it away. Imagine instead you are expected to come in everday and think and behave based on a set of values, principles and goals.
Writing a "corporate speak" job description serves no one well, doesn't unleash creativity, doesn't enable adaptability, and doesn't directly encourage or highlight a specific. So, get rid of them and replace them with something deeper, more relevant, and more enduring - an impact mission.
Value = Focus on the user/client/customer and all else will follow. (Customer experience)
Principle = Be where you need to be to achieve the results you need to (Autonomy)
Goal = Increase our Net Promoter Score by 5%
- Let people know the target, in percise terms without all the gunk of "how to" then get out of the way and let people flourish
2. Unleash imagination
- Give people an invitation to dream. Here is your value to aspire to, these are principles to live by, this is your target. Then, facilitate their success by providing resources, removing obstacles etc. Fundamentally, the employee is now feeling a sense of purpose and is driven because an intrinsic interest in the problem.
3. Encourage adaptability
- By providing the contextual constraints rather than all the detail, you allow individuals the authority to be adaptive by filling in and creating the rest of context for themselves.
4. Encourage proactivity
- No one is limited to thinking about the present or certain projects only. The full span of values will reinforce what is desired but the field of opportunity is unfettered allowing for communities of passion to emerge.
5. Increase fit
- Anyone who can't handle ambiguity will be terrified of this. They will run from you (probably). However, for the types who want to be part of something larger than themselves without all the trappings of bureacracy it might be the holy grail of opportunity.
6. Set the cultural tone
- Emotional drivers are an important part of the human experience of work. It is the soul of the org structure. Building a boundaryless culture enables a boundaryless structure which is likely to resist and minimize bureacratization and "controlism".
7. Transparency follows
- If my work can change regularly in service of a handful of values, then I need access to pertinent information (e.g., financial performance) and systems (e.g., purchasing). This means everyone can see everything. All data is transparent.
8. Personal performance accountability follows
- When my neighbours know my value (e.g., compensation and what I contribute), I'm either doing a great job, on my way to doing a great job, or I'm not. It reduces the opportunity for "presenteeism" or any other version of a lack of results.
9. Values become the common language
- It removes from values from being a vague reference to a vision statement to something which is lived and experienced daily.
10. It facilitates steward leadership vs. C&C
- If your Impact Mission is achieved through figuring out values, principles, and goals then it is resistant to micromanagement and "controlism". If you are freed to accomplish your mission and facilitated to succeed, you probably won't. Meaning, fault is more traceable to leadership roles/titles if that's where the issue truly is.
1. Identify your values, or your desired values. Define what they mean. What should your people aspire to imbue into their work?
2. Identify guiding principles. How are you unleashing your people?
3. Identify goals. What targets need to be hit along the way of living the values?
B - Prototype
1. Minimize risk by piloting in a given area. Try to "get the system in the room" and begin to map out what living by a set of values and principles would mean across the existing management systems, processes, and structures. Ask questions like "In order to achieve value x, what change would be required?"
2. Give the greenlight for a sector or team to engage in these changes. Document the journey.
3. Track results. Start with measuring change. How many things changed? Which things? How did people feel afterward? At the beginning look at "input measures". Number of changes, number of processes, steps, process, structures modified, cash used, etc. Over time, change to "output measures" (e.g., engagement, time-to-market, etc)
C - Refine and increase scope
1. Do the same thing, again, and again, and again. Each time, add another group of individuals.
2. Hold yourself accountable to your values. Measure inputs and outputs. You will discover what is sustainable and what is not.