Role Design 101 (some principles)

We know that how you define and implement a new role impacts the success of your structure.

We draft a lot of role designs, and when we do, we adhere to a list of key principles. Below, we discuss 3 that might help with your next review.


Principle 1: Role clarity

We have discussed how a RASCI is used to identify and agree relevant accountabilities and responsibilities. Once again, the RASCI is your friend, it will help you to clearly define the processes your role needs to execute. Additionally, it will also allow you to understand the interactions and relationships that exist with other roles and teams in your design.

When translating an accountability or responsibility from your RASCI into your new role design, focus on writing them as an outcome that you can easily measure.  If they are not, written in the manner it will be difficult to assess its performance.


Principle 2: Role span

We are all carbon life forms and we do not have a limitless supply of time and energy.  When designing a new role, we limit the accountabilities or responsibilities to between 7-10.

Designing roles with a broad span is a risk any organisational development practitioner needs to mitigate.  Even when adhering to this principle, it is still possible to design a role whose span is too broad.

Roles spans that are not optimised will risk the successful implementation of your design. They can adversely impact information flow and manifest themselves as bottlenecks.


Principle 3: Task identity

Ensuring that a role can execute the task it has been assigned in its entirety is another principle.  There are several reasons why you should adhere to this, they include:

  1. Risk mitigation: splitting the execution of a task across multiple roles increases the risk that the task will not be successfully executed
  2. Inconsistent information flow: having more than one role execute a task increases the risk of miscommunication
  3. Reduced role clarity: splitting tasks across multiple roles reduces role clarity making it more difficult to measure performance.

Posted to Advisory on Tue 2 2018

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