Usually when someone new is hired into a job, or someone new is added to a team, they are given some kind of original instruction – if they’re lucky :) This may be a job description, or a team charter. Let’s describe a fictional department head named Cathy who gets placed in an “acting” position and really wants the new job permanently.
Okay, let’s say I’m Cathy. For years, I’ve been the second in command in my area and my boss Alida has just taken sudden retirement to care for her sick husband. Good news – I’m the obvious choice for an internal promotion, so this looks like it will be easy, but there are a lot of aspects of Alida’s job that are brand new to me. Alida handled all of the department’s work with the “external” world and collaborated on many inter-departmental task forces. Everyone loved her and she kept those relationships to herself. I am joining these task forces for the first time and inside the department, I’m a brand new leader with people who used to be my peers. Tricky.
If you give me a job description it will give me pretty good information about the duties of my job and it will tell me where I sit in the hierarchy – who I report to and who reports to me. But a lot of other important knowledge – what anthropologists call “tacit” knowledge – is missing. Normally, it will take me about six months to figure out who I go to when I need to get a decision made, whose toes I will be stepping on if I do something without consulting them first, and how much authority I really have to make changes in my area. Along the way, I may damage a few relationships that I badly need and feel pretty beat up, myself.
Giving someone stepping into a new position a RACI chart as well as a job description can really streamline this on-boarding process. See “Defining the RACI codes” for a full description of the RACI language. With a RACI chart in addition to the job description, I can see which 10-12 things the organization believes are most important about this role. I can see who my stakeholders are, and which ones I had better be sure to consult with before I take action. For different elements of the job, I may have different people to go to for approvals, not a single boss. I can even sit down with my former peers – now my new team – and talk with them about where I have authority to make decisions, and where they are accountable for certain pieces of work.
Cathy has a much better chance of succeeding with her old team and making the right kind of impression on the department heads around her if she takes the time to use the RACI language with her team. And if her organization hands her a RACI chart along with her job description.
About RACI Solutions
RACI Solutions has been helping organizations across the globe utilize the power of RACI to transform the dynamic of cross-functional teams since 2007. Whether you are new to RACI or have used it for years, we can help.
Today’s business environment is complex – you may be contending with matrix structures, rapid growth, mergers, multiple locations, virtual employees, and/or digital transformation.
As a result, project teams can get stuck. Let us help you! If you need to learn RACI, we offer train-the-trainer materials and custom workshops. We can help you create RACI super-users. If you already use RACI or another decision matrix, we offer programs that help you become skilled at working across functions – an effective horizontal leader. We help project teams tune up their performance. We help organizations streamline their decision-making.
Our team is comprised of expert consultants, trainers, and facilitators, who can help your teams and their leaders achieve a seamless level of collaboration.