Formally Define Roles

Formally Define RolesAs you are planning your venture, you must develop an organizational structure to detail the corporate hierarchy. Even in a “flat” corporate structure, it is important to detail the chain of command. This will help provide a blueprint for how decisions will be made. As a first step, its good to outline on a general level how many employees are needed. Formally map out each defined role within the organization and its responsibilities.

While each founder may have an area of specialty, understand who is responsible for each decision. Major decisions cannot be achieved through consensus, they must be the responsibility of the leader of each department or organization. While there will need to be key employees whose job is to arrive at the important decisions, it is equally necessary to detail which of the troops on the ground will carry out those decisions.

Show a break-up of responsibilities between founders and employees. Of course, the founders will not be able to do all the work. Understand what roles and responsibilities the founders can handle and where outside help is necessary. A major mistake of many ventures is that the founders try to take on too many responsibilities. In these situations, the workload will quickly overwhelm, even if you are committed to the venture full-time.

In order to avoid becoming overwhelmed by an unsustainable workload, part of formally defining roles should include a clear allocation of responsibilities amongst the employees. Just because a single person came up with the idea underlying your venture, that doesn’t mean that a single person must execute the idea. Instead, a team of individuals is likely needed to carry out the idea and sustain your venture. While any venture will have a natural leader to manage the enterprise, everyone must bring some value to the table. All roles should work in coordination so as to ensure that the venture is not overly reliant on a single leader or department. As part of this effort, facilitate teamwork and an open exchange of ideas.

Thumbs UpTry This: Create an organizational structure with as much detail as possible. Prioritize those positions to determine which jobs are absolutely necessary and which can be filled over time.



Thumbs DownAvoid This: Don’t get mired in bureaucracy. All employees should be able to multi-task and take on evolving/expanding roles.

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