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© 2024 N. Dean Meyer and Associates Inc.
Excerpt from www.NDMA.COM, © 2024 N. Dean Meyer and Associates Inc.

Quick First Step: Accountabilities and Workflows

expert facilitation of a participative process that identifies the lines of business under each manager and maps accountabilities for common workflows

Book: Principle-based Organizational Structure

Deconstruct your current organization chart into the lines of business under each manager, and document individual accountabilities and clear work flows.

Without changing your current organization chart, you can make a lot of progress on some key organizational objectives:

  • Identify accountabilities for deliverables (not just resources and processes)

  • Document and clean up work-flows

  • Optionally, begin to develop a service catalog

  • Begin to get managers thinking like entrepreneurs

  • Assess the need for future changes in your structure

There are two steps in this process:

  • Document which lines of business are under each manager

    This is a shortened form of the Rainbow Analysis. Using the framework of all the lines of business within organizations (the Building Blocks), each manager identifies the business(es) within his/her group.

    While this inevitably generates insights on the current organization chart (and may build interest in a future restructuring), it does not require any change in your current structure.

  • Walk-throughs

    Outside routine production lines, it's not appropriate to use a rigid process-engineering approach. In a more dynamic environment, work-flows take the form of "walk-throughs."

    Walk-throughs are done for one or a few projects or services. In each, the leadership team identifies the "prime contractor" -- the group wholly accountable for the entire initiative.

    Then, that prime contractor identifies the help needed from other groups within the organization -- "subcontractors" who are in turn wholly accountable for their sub-components (deliverables, not tasks).

    Subcontractors may, in turn, need help from peers -- sub-subcontractors -- and so on.

    The result is a clear definition of cross-boundary teams: who's involved, each member's individual accountabilities for results, and the chain of command within the team.

    Optionally, participating leaders may record their products and services as they do walk-throughs. If they do, a draft service catalog begins to emerge. This gives you a head start on a potential follow-on project to develop a comprehensive service catalog.

Walk-throughs are not a rigid pre-defined process. They're a method for flexibly generating clear processes in the context of the unique requirements of each project or service.

The benefits go beyond just the one or few walk-throughs done in this process. The definitions of lines of business and the walk-throughs method can bring clarity to all future projects and services.

If you're not ready to commit to a major restructuring, but are interested in moving toward an accountable, entrepreneurial organization with crisp cross-boundary teamwork, this is a powerful first step.


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