Over-complicated roles are killing your business success

Posted On: 11 May 2017

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Here’s a question: what are you growing your business around? We’re not talking about KPIs or long-term revenue goals here—we’re talking about the difference between growing a business around your current employees versus growing it around defined roles.

One is infinitely better than the other for your business success. Can you guess which?

Thinking beyond people

Consider this scenario: you are a growing enterprise with a solid set of employees, all of whom are intelligent, hard-working and experienced within their fields. You start developing new products, services or systems around this current batch of workers, expanding their roles to fulfill the new needs of your enterprise. But disaster strikes: an important employee has to leave, resulting in a hole not just within their original position, but also a series of empty spots in all the other secondary roles they have come to fill.

Now you either need to expand your current workbase even further to cover these secondary roles, or find someone who can perform all of these tasks—something which is very unlikely. You’ve over-complicated that role, and it’s come back to bite you. Not only that, but even while that key employee was still working for you, they have had to look after five or six different KPIs, splitting their time inefficiently rather than concentrating on one, single goal.

Keep it simple

Take a different scenario. You’re still a growing enterprise with some fantastic workers, but rather than having a lot of people spread across many different fields, you base your growth around clearly defined roles. Instead of expanding your company around Joe Bloggs from sales, you are expanding around Joe Bloggs’ role as sales manager.

As a result, each person knows what they are responsible for—what they are accountable for. If they need to leave for whatever reason, you’ve got a far easier job finding a replacement that can handle the work, but you’ve also made the role itself simpler and easier to manage. If you make people responsible for only a single KPI rather than four or five at a time, do you think they are more likely to succeed? Yes, they are.

This is the magic of simplification. People over-complicate their key roles far too often, resulting in a bureaucratic mess of an organisation where people don’t know what they are responsible for, and are impossible to replace quickly and easily if something does hinder operations. Rather than giving Joe Bloggs a big lump of KPIs to worry about, you are setting up the sales manager (who happens to be Joe Bloggs), to look after just one.

The takeaway here is to make sure you are making your key employees responsible for a single KPI. Something broad, such as conversion rates for a website. This lets your employees know what they are accountable for, what they own in the company, and overall what they are expected to achieve during their time at the company. You’ll save headaches, unnecessarily lengthy role descriptions, and the hiring process will be simpler to boot. Do yourself a favour, and keep it simple!

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Topics: Leadership, Recruitment