In our last post, we discussed the importance of ensuring that positions are well defined on your team so that everyone knows who is responsible for what. I used the analogy of the offensive unit of a football team where everyone knows their own role, and everyone else’s role, on every play.
It’s not always that easy in the business or non-profit world. You can have what I call ‘gray areas’ where processes and structure are shared so it’s not obvious who is ultimately responsible. If you combine that with employees who aren’t able or willing to work through the complexity, you will get finger pointing, blaming and poor performance. There are two steps to address this issue; requiring clarity and building accountability. This week, I want to share with you an excellent tool for gaining clarity.
Focus on Clarity With The RACI Chart
For most of the work that an organization needs done, it’s obvious who is responsible for doing that work. What about those gray areas? How do you gain the clarity needed to ensure that the work gets done efficiently? The RACI chart can really help clarify who has a role in completing the work. Your success depends on involving the right people and then actually using the the RACI chart that you created.
What Is a RACI Chart?
A RACI chart is tool that identifies who has what role in the process of getting work done. The following is a summary of the RACI chart by role:
- R = individual who is Responsible for completing the work. This can only be one person.
- A = individual who is Accountable for the work getting done; he or she reviews and approves the work. This can only be one person.
- C = individuals who may be Consulted because they may have valuable expertise and guidance in the particular area.
- I = individuals who are informed about the work but don’t have a say or part in the work.
How Do You Complete a RACI Chart?
The key to successful implementation of a RACI chart is to get the right people involved. If the right people are in the same department, several meetings along with follow up should be all that are required. In larger organizations with separate departments and functions, you may need to put more organization in place if the work crosses departments. You would only do this for ‘important’ issues. You could use the following process in this situation:
- First, identify who the stakeholders are in the work. Who has an interest in the outcome? If you are discussing supplier quality for example, you might identify procurement, quality and production as stakeholders.
- Second, have the stakeholder identify who will be on the RACI development team.
- Third, the RACI development team meets to complete the RACI chart and they communicate the outcome to their respective stakeholder along with a timeline for implementation.
- Finally, once implementation has started, the development team meets to review the progress and results from using the RACI.
This isn’t intended as a complete synopsis of RACI charts but RACIchart.org has examples and templates you can download. The first key to success is to get the right people involved. Make sure you don’t just fill out the chart and say, “I’m done”.
The second key to success is using the RACI and revising it as needed. It’s easy to slip into old patterns of behavior and you may hear excuses such as “It’s just easier to do it myself.”
Using this tool and process, you and your employees should have more clarity around roles and responsibilities – and more importantly, be able to get the work done! This should result in less finger pointing, in part, because you can convey the expectation with your team that being responsible and accountable for results is important. Next week, we will discuss how to further create an environment that will stop finger pointing and focus on results.
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