Whether you are an employee, the boss, or a self-employed professional, it’s important to know clearly what is your role. We typically define our roles using a formal or informal job description. And that is usually a longish list of tasks or “responsibilities” masquerading as tasks. This sort of job description offers you
- Little certainty about what you should be doing or what in your role is more important. It’s just a list of tasks.
- Difficulty finding common ground with bosses, staff, peers, or clients about what you will or won’t do.
- No way to effectively manage, evaluate, support, or develop others because their roles are similarly confused.
Instead of a job description, use a relatively short list of key accountabilities. A key accountability is a high-level description of what it means to be successful in the role. Here is how to define a role, yours or any other’s, using key accountabilities.
- Write down your answers to these questions: “Why does this role exist?” “How will we know if the job has been done well?” Shoot for 3-5 statements. Make them measurable. Qualitative or quantitative measures are fine.
- Prioritize the statements. Which one can you get away with doing less well if you are doing the others very well?
- Assign a percentage of your work week to each statement. Note: you may spend most of your time on your least important key accountability and that’s fine. The percentages from all the key accountabilities should total 75 or 80 percent; the buffer is to account for down time and necessary work on non-key projects.
Try this for your role and then comment below. How would a small set of key accountabilities for your role help you?