The Best and Worst Ways to Describe a Role

Posted on Posted in Hiring, Leading, Strategy, Success
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“Fit” is such an important driver for people and need for organizations. Everyone–from the big boss to the mail room clerk–in every organization–from the largest multi-national to a sole proprietor–needs to understand where she fits and how she contributes to the organization.

The worst way to define a role is with a job description. A job description lists things like tasks or functions performed in the job, who the job reports to, and the skills required to do the job. Job descriptions don’t guide the person in the role because they are hard to recall, follow, and change as time and business needs change. Example: “The job of special assistant to the associate team leader includes drafting, distributing for comment, and publishing the daily TPS reports.”

The best way to define a role is with key accountabilities. Any role can be described in three to five of these sentences that answer the question, “At the end of the year, what will we see to know that this job has been done well?” Roles defined by key accountabilities are simpler to grasp and easier to manage. Example: For a sales person, the key accountabilities might be “Generate at least $20M in revenue for the company this year,” “Support existing clients; 80% of revenue will come from existing clients.”

Try it. Define your role (or one you have to hire for soon) in three-to-five mostly measurable sentences. Then watch how much easier it becomes to do, hire, or manage that role.

 

To your continued success,

Mike

P.S. Do any companies still have mail room clerks?

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