Over the last year or two as we’ve moved more into the strategic work of helping business owners significantly improve their finances, we’ve noticed something – the companies that consistently make good money have great processes and clear team structures in place.
And those without them exist in a permanent state of chaos, and with extremely inconsistent financial results.
But how do you feel when someone starts spouting on about roles and responsibilities?
Personally I’d always found it a bit dull, a bit too robotic, too systemised (maybe it’s the way it’s often implemented that has us falling asleep?) BUT it’s something I’ve come to realise is absolutely mission critical for any business that wants to do more than just survive.
There has to be a reason why so few small companies put roles and responsibilities in place, and why there’s so much resistance.
Why do you need them?
I think it comes back to THE WHY. Unless you are crystal clear on what you want to achieve and most importantly WHY, the motivation is rarely there to make change, and make that change stick.
Often a business owner assumes that there isn’t anyone who’d be willing to take on responsibility, but actually I think that people want to do a good job and welcome being responsible for what they do.
Often when we start work with a client to improve their finances, we come up against barriers as to why the business can’t move forward. And many all of these are down to unclear structure and confused roles and responsibilities. People in their business just don’t know what they’re responsible for.
Is your business good enough at what it does?
The thing is, to make and keep money consistently you’ve got to be very good at what you do. The market rewards average or poor performance with average and poor financial results. But how can you be very good at what you do if your business isn’t efficient, if you haven’t got solid processes in place for the things that happen all the time, if your team don’t know who’s responsible for making things happen?
It all just leads to accidental performance and results.
Something we see a lot is the managing director being responsible for everything – nothing has been delegated, and no one has been given any authority or responsibility for the work they do.
When we ask who is responsible for a certain task, no one really knows. And if it could be Fred, or Sally or Pete, then it’s no one. And so of course the MD thinks they need to sort it, “because no-one else will”
What do you mean the courier’s here already?
A manufacturer we work with ships product out every day.
The courier arrives at the same time every day.
But every day it seemed to be some sort of surprise when the courier turned up.
The boxes weren’t ready to go out, the paperwork wasn’t ready. It plunged the business into a stressed panic every day as “people” scrambled to get everything ready. Inevitably the MD was getting involved, taking him away from what he was doing.
It wasn’t anyone’s job, or anyone’s responsibility to have the orders ready to go when the courier arrived. We suggested a few very simple processes; have a cut off time for packing each day, get the paperwork ready for a certain time, and have a single accountable person responsible for getting orders out. Simple stuff but it totally transformed this area of the business. Now they get more out each day. It just happens, and it’s no longer a stress point.
And getting more out each day means customers get their orders sooner, customers are happier and leaving better reviews and sales are higher – a direct effect on the bottom line. And we hear that everyone is feeling much calmer and less stressed.
I’ll do it myself, no-one else will…
We find that an astonishing number of low level tasks fall to the managing director, because no-one else has been given responsibility. We need the MD focussing on strategy, growth and making their business stronger, so they have to be freed up from anything that isn’t strategically important. You’ve heard the saying – you should do what ONLY you can do.
So have you got clear roles and responsibilities in your business, or do too many of those jobs still fall to you? Time to make some changes maybe……