Last month we concluded our series on the different meetings involved in the PSE Method, so this month we’ll begin taking a closer look at the PSE Method tools. First up is the Key Accountabilities Chart.
In order for a company to function well, it must have the Right People in the Right Seats. Right People meaning they are a culture add. They are a positive influence in the company and they align with the company’s Core Values. Right Seats meaning that they are in a role for which they are set up for success. They know what they’re doing, they know how to do it, and they’re excited about coming to work every day.
The Key Accountabilities Chart of the PSE Method speaks to the Right Seats concept.
It makes sure that you have the right seats set before you put people in those seats. This ensures that you have the right structure for your organization, regardless of who’s currently at your company.
As a company, one of our Core Values is to be people first. And to help our clients to be the same. People first means that you are putting the good of your employees first and thinking about how each of your decisions and actions affects the people in your company.
A major part of being people first is getting the right people into the right seats so that they are in roles where they can excel. In order to excel in any position, the employee must have absolute clarity about role expectations. It comes down to communication. The Key Accountabilities Chart tells everyone precisely what is expected of them and of their colleagues. Which better sets you up to hold them accountable to those expectations.
As leaders, we tend to let people sit in the wrong seats for far too long because we don’t know how to have a proper feedback conversation with them. More often than not, expectations have never been clearly laid out for each role. Which makes it almost impossible to tell someone they’re not meeting those undefined expectations. This is not putting people first because you’re setting them up for failure from the start.
Creating the Key Accountabilities Chart is a structure-first approach to organizing your company.
You accomplish that in three steps.
First, you’re going to create the structure. The seats. You first create the seats you need in order for the company to function efficiently. Finding the most effective structure for your organization, regardless of the current one.
Then you’re going to create the Key Accountabilities. The five most important things for each of those seats to accomplish. What is this seat responsible for accomplishing?
And finally, you’re going to put people in those seats. People are added last so that you don’t build a company around what you already have. And instead, build it around what you need to be successful. You have to remain objective and intentional about this structure. Don’t let current employees inform your decisions. Build the structure your company needs.
This is an ideal world scenario. Thinking about your company in a perfect world. What does the structure need to look like for the next six to 12 months for you to be the most effective company possible? What does the company need to look like organizationally to be the most successful?
We’ll start by just building your leadership team.
On PSE Day One we just focus on creating the Key Accountabilities Chart for your leadership team. Your homework will be to finish fleshing out the K.A. Chart for your entire company. We’ll start at the top and work our way down to through the first layer of leadership.
Again, the first step is just to create the seats, the right structure, then we’ll go back and create the key accountabilities, the five most important things for that role to get done. And then we’ll put people in the seats after that.
The general structure we start with consists of four seats reporting to the CEO seat. A sales seat, a marketing seat, an operations seat, and a finance seat. That is a very common division of roles that gives us a good jumping-off point. We’ll then customize this generic structure to your company. What are the seats included on your leadership team?
Once everyone agrees on the right structure and seats, then we go back and create the five key accountabilities for each role. Which is basically job benchmarking. Getting clarity across the leadership team of what each person is expected to accomplish. There is a dual benefit here of providing clarity for each individual on their role, and providing clarity for each team member about what their peers do.
When filling in the Key Accountabilities we have to keep in mind that every role that has direct reports has management duties. Which include hiring, managing, coaching, growing, holding accountable, etc. So each of these roles must include management as one of their K.A.s.
Once we’ve finished filling in the Key Accountabilities, now it’s time to put someone in each seat.
Only one person can be in each seat. One person can be in two seats. But two people cannot be in one seat because then no one is ultimately accountable.
It might be that someone who’s leading that seat has a lot of help and support from others. But ultimately they’re the one who is accountable for those Key Accountabilities. The buck has to stop with just one person.
Even after assigning people to the seats, there may still be some holes. Certain seats might not currently have an owner. That’s fine. We’ll be sure to capture these problems so that we can solve them as we have time. We’ll also revisit anyone who is currently sitting in two different seats to make sure that is in fact the most effective approach. Nothing that you are currently doing is sacred in this exercise. The goal is to find the best structure for your company, so you must be willing to question everything.
Keep in mind, this can be a difficult exercise.
If there are any people issues that you’ve been ignoring, this will make them plain for everyone to see. We may find people who are in the wrong seat, that’s okay. We can either find them the right seat within your company or we can help them find a seat that’s right for them elsewhere. But ignoring the issue is not effective. It only lets the problem fester and brings down both productivity and morale.
The Key Accountabilities Chart is designed to help you more easily address any people issues you may be having. It helps you clearly communicate your expectations for each role so that you can then hold each individual accountable for meeting those expectations. This way you don’t let Right People Right Seat problems linger and instead address them head-on.