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  • Writer's picturethomasmele

No toilet paper in the restrooms again!!

Updated: Oct 26, 2021

Does everyone in your organization know exactly what you expect from them?

Are you sure? How do you know this? Most business owners just assume their people know what they are supposed to do.

Several years ago, I was working with a CEO on this challenge.

He said to me, “Thomas, why is it my responsibility to make sure there’s toilet paper in the rest rooms?”

My response, “Well, whose responsibility in the company is it?”

After he thought about it, he said, “No one’s.”

My response, “That’s why it is your’s.”

Everything that is not assigned to someone on your team to get done, will eventually end up in your office.

Unfortunately, just assigning tasks is not enough. During my 25 years working in leadership for two Fortune 500 corporations, each member of my team had a job title. Each job title in the company came with a mysterious ‘Roles and Responsibilities’ document that was stored somewhere that no one ever saw or used. Not me. Not my employees.

Business owners need a more powerful approach.

In his 1995 book entitled, The E-Myth Revisited, author Michael Gerber introduced the concept of Position Agreements. This is an agreement between the employee and their manager describing their mutual agreement of what is expected of the person holding that specific position in the company. The results expected. The work to be done. The metrics that will be used to measure success.

Over the past eight years, I have written over 100 of these agreements for my clients during their efforts to design their organizations to be set up for growth and accountability.

Position Agreements are powerful documents that when used correctly, will produce what every business owner wants and needs – employee engagement. They are not useless, never to be used ‘Roles and Responsibilities’ documents to be filed and never used.

How do position agreements drive employee engagement? Patrick Lencioni in his 2007 book, The Truth About Employee Engagement, summarizes the three things that need to be in place for an employee to be fully engaged: to be...

  • known—to be understood and appreciated for their unique qualities

  • relevant—to understand how their job contributes to the success of others and the company

  • measured—to clearly know how the result of their work is evaluated

The implementation of position agreements in a company can serve all three of these engagement requirements.

KNOWN. An employee wants to know their supervisor cares about them as a human being. The act of having a document that clearly defines what an employee is supposed to do to be successful in a specific position gives a manager the opportunity to discuss an employee’s current skills and interests, their developmental needs, their career dreams and even their potential limitations.

RELEVANT. A comprehensive position agreement will specify the overall results expected, how this position serves others on the team and the actual work to be performed. It leaves no doubt or questions as to how this position contributes to the overall success of the company.

MEASURED. The agreement will also list the specific key performance indicators that will be used to track the results, the position-specific competencies required of the position as well as work standards that are expected of every employee.

What would your organization be like if every person in your company knew these three things about their position?

Is this a lot of work? Yes. Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY.

Once these agreements are in place, you can use them for onboarding new employees, performance management, recruiting and setting developmental goals. You may have to revise individual agreements from time to time as your business develops and your organization grows – but after the heavy lifting of the initial implementation across your organization this is simple maintenance work.

A powerful example of how this process has helped my clients is captured in this testimonial by Dan Roberts, President of Rollamatic Roofs, Inc.

“Another benefit has been the development of Position Agreements for me and my staff, (both current and planned). I’ve learned that having an employee know what is truly expected of them is good for them and the company; it gives them clear expectations of their duties, which makes them feel good about their work. It also allows me to give them praise when they meet or exceed expectations or hold them accountable when they don’t—which is great at review time.”

You can read his whole story by clicking, read Dan’s Success Story.

Another huge benefit as you operate with the agreements in place is everyone on the team will know what everyone else’s position is supposed to do, so now the team members can start to hold each other accountable – that’s when the magic of having a team focused on producing results happens.

I’ll bet that in a 20-minute conversation, together we can determine how your team could benefit from implementing position agreements. Let's discuss it. Click Book a Call with Thomas. (There is no fee for this call.)

Do you know someone that could benefit from this information? Forward this post to them; if they reach out to me with a question—I will answer them personally.

Be encouraged. Be strong. Be courageous.

BTW: I am not affiliated with Michael Gerber or Patrick Lencioni and their products and services. I share these resources because I’ve used them with my clients, and they work.

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