Use a Functional Accountability Chart to get your people in the right seats

Use a Functional Accountability Chart to get your people in the right seats

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I have written about how to get the right people in the right seats in your business, and the benefits of doing so. A great way to simplify the process of evaluating if your people are in the right seats is to create a Functional Accountability Chart for your business. 

Creating your Functional Accountability Chart allows you to get a quick snapshot of the accountability structure of your business, both in terms of relationships/reporting and what each person in your organization is responsible for. Everyone in your business—your leadership team and other employees alike—will appreciate the added clarity this provides. 

Simply put, your Functional Accountability Chart plots every job/position in your business in an organization chart, and for each position includes the top 4 roles/responsibilities of the position (I call these “Top 4s”). The purpose of doing this is to distill each position to its essential roles. Often job descriptions are so long, with so many roles and responsibilities listed, that they are nearly impossible to keep track of, much less evaluate if a person is actually accomplishing all of those roles. The old adage “if everything’s a priority, nothing’s a priority” applies here. Plus, if your employee isn’t taking care of their Top 4s effectively, does it really matter if he or she is good at the others? 

Here’s a simple template for your Functional Accountability Chart – there are three tabs in the template to give you some variations to work with as a starting point to create yours:

Here’s how to create your Functional Accountability Chart:

  1. Identify the core functions of your business. (In this article I have listed the core functions common to most businesses, but you need to adapt this for your business.)
  2. Plot those core functions horizontally in an org chart.
  3. Add in any layers of management that you currently have, or would like to have, in your business i.e. Owner, General Manager, CEO, COO, CFO, etc. (Tip: even if you’re a small business and YOU are the sole layer of management in your business, it can be helpful to separate your duties into separate management roles, so that you can see how many different hats you are currently wearing in your business.)
  4. Now for each core function (and management position), add in the Top 4 roles for which the function/position is responsible. Notice no names are inserted at this point – the idea is to describe the most important roles, not what the person holding the position is currently doing. You will see examples of common roles for certain functions included in the template.
  5. Once you’ve completed the chart with Top 4s for each position, assign names to each function/position from among the team members currently in your business. These are the people you want to take ownership over each box in the chart. Some rules to follow in doing this: a) the same person can have ownership of more than one box in the chart; b) no one box should be owned by more than one person; c) some boxes can have no one currently assigned to own them – this means you now know you have some recruiting to do.
  6. Evaluate if the person currently holding this position is actually in the right seat. Does that person consistently carry out the Top 4s of the position? If not, do they have the current capability, or reasonable ability to learn how, to carry out those duties? If the answer to either of these questions is No, then the person is not in the right seat in your business. You will either need to move the person into a seat more suitable to his or her capabilities and find someone more capable to fill the position, or you will need to downgrade the duties of the position. The first option is better.

You might find on the other end of this process that some of your people need to move seats or get specific training to increase their capabilities. Either way, this will benefit both the employee and your business.