“Different from an organizational chart, an accountability chart defines the right structure for your company and clearly identifies who is accountable for what.”Gino Wickman, author of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.
If you have worked in any organization, you have probably heard of an organizational chart. These charts show you who reports to who; however, they typically don’t help you figure who is accountable for what. A significant issue facing most organizations is the lack of clarity within the organizational chart. It isn’t easy to figure out what the company’s primary functions are or what any given individual’s roles and responsibilities are.
Instead, the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®) recommends that you use an Accountability Chart. This chart helps you establish the right structure for your organization and outline the roles and responsibilities of your people. EOS® is a complete tool kit to help leadership teams improve, gain traction, and grow their companies. To learn more about EOS®, check out our summary of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business or EOS® Worldwide.
In EOS, the Right Seat allows your people to operate within their Unique Ability®, which are the “characteristics and values entirely unique to you. Everyone has their own Unique Ability®, which allows them to maximize their effectiveness and worth to the company.
The Right Seat for an individual has the roles and responsibilities to allow them to seek improvement, feel energized, and maximize their Unique Ability®. When you have the right people in the right seats, “each of your employees is operating within his or her area of greatest skill and passion inside your organization.”
The Accountability Chart
In EOS®, the Accountability Chart™ tool will help you create the optimal corporate structure that is functional and holds people accountable. Further, the chart will help you identify the right seats that fit a specific employee’s Unique Ability®:
Unique Ability® + Accountability Chart = Right Seats
Now, you have to create an Accountability Chart™ that communicates your organization’s primary functions and defines employee roles and responsibilities. It will help your leadership team perceive your organizations differently, address personnel issues, and move your company in the right direction.
Before creating your chart, there are some guidelines that you should keep in mind:
- Look forward. You should focus on moving your business forward and avoid getting trapped in the present. You will be able to think about where you are going instead of where you are right now.
- Detach yourself. You should disconnect yourself from your current business, your current position, and your ego. You will be able to think about the company from a different perspective.
- Elevate yourself. You should rise from working in the business to working on the business. You will be able to make sound decisions for the long-term wellbeing of your company.
In the EOS model, there are three primary functions in any organization. These three functions are crucial for running the business, regardless of whether it’s a brand-new company or a large technology company:
- Sales and Marketing: This function generates the business for the company.
- Operations: This function creates goods or renders services.
- Finance and Administration: This function handles cash flow and maintains the infrastructure.
Each of these three components needs to be strong to foster a healthy tension between them. Also, each function needs to be led by one person to maintain accountability. Thus, there should be one manager for Sales and Marketing, one for Operations, and one for Finance and Administration.
However, there are many ways to structure your organization, so the Accountability Chart™ is customizable such that the three primary functions could be separated into ten distinct functions:
- Sales and Marketing
- Sales: This function converts the leads or prospects into purchasing goods or services.
- Marketing: This function builds a brand, improves reputation, and helps to pursue potential customers.
- Delivery: This function provides goods or renders services to the customer.
- Project Management: This function organizes organizational resources to complete specific tasks and events.
- Customer Service: This function interacts with customers to ensure they are satisfied.
- Finance and Administration
- Finance: This function manages cash flow and acquires the necessary funding.
- Administration: This function supports the running of the business and manages the office spaces.
- Information Technology: This function handles company processes, hardware, and software.
- Human Resources: This function recruits and trains employees and administers benefits to employees.
Again, there should only be one individual in charge of any primary functions to maintain accountability. In the Accountability Chart, these individuals will have people reporting to them and have the vital responsibility of LMA:
Leadership + Management = Accountability.
To learn more about LMA, check out our summary of How to Be a Great Boss.
As these functions cannot operate independently of one another, so there arises an intermediary role known as the Integrator.
The Integrator “runs the organization, manages the day-to-day issues, and integrates the three main business functions.”
When the right leadership team is in place, a healthy tension will exist between the primary business functions. Above those functions on the Accountability Chart, the Integrator’s vital role is to harmoniously blend them to execute the corporate vision. In typical organizations, the Integrator may be known as the CEO, President, General Manager, etc.
- Runs the Day-to-Day Operations through excellent leadership, management, and accountability.
- Harmoniously Integrates the business’s primary functions: sales and marketing, operations, and finance and administration.
- Consistently Manages and Executes decision making, project management, and problem-solving.
- Executes the Vision by clarifying and aligning objectives, values, and priorities to implement the business strategy.
- Filter the Visionary’s Ideas to remove obstacles for the leadership team to execute on the Vision.
The Visionary is “the strategic thinker who always sees the big picture and is tuned into the future of your industry.”
After building the Accountability Chart, there is one primary role left that rises above the rest. This essential role is the Visionary, who had the creative foresight to found the organization in the first place. This role emotionally complements the rational Integrator. The Visionary establishes the Vision for where the company is going in the long-term. They are great at building relationships and setting the culture of the organization. In other organizations, the Visionary may be the owner, co-owner, or founder.
- Extremely Passionate about your product, service, company, and customers.
- Generates Ideas all the time, ranging from impressive to terrible.
- Big-Picture Thinker as you manage external relationships, secure consequential deals, or solve severe problems.
- Sees the Future for new company products or services, the future of the market, or the client’s future needs.
- Hunter Mentality regarding new ideas, ventures, opportunities, and solutions.
The Visionary and Integrator form the most critical relationship at the top of the Accountability Chart. The two roles complement each other as opposite business personalities to contribute to the success of an organization. A healthy tension must exist to keep the duo energized with creativity and moving toward results. To learn more about the Visionary/Integrator Relationship, check out our summary of Rocket Fuel.
Structuring the Accountability Chart™
After establishing the Leadership Team, the primary functions are laid out structurally as follows:
The Accountability Chart is a considerable improvement over an organizational chart as it includes roles and responsibilities. Overall, the chart communicates the primary functions, and each seat has about five defined roles and responsibilities.
When structuring your organization, do not start with employee names but build the structure around the roles required in your business. After creating the chart, then you can place the right people into the right seats using the GWC (Get It, Want It, and Capacity To Do It) tool. Even though there is a defined reporting structure, communication should be allowed to flow freely across departments. Certain functions will have multiple people doing the same seat, including salespeople, customer service representatives, recruiters, etc.
Your Accountability Chart is an evolving document as your organization grows and scales. However, the structure provides a backbone to insert new seats. If you grow considerably, then you should expect to make changes every quarter. The Accountability Chart can also be adjustable for adding more team members as one role can take on as many people are required to get the job done.
There are four common issues faced by the Visionary, Integrator, and other members of the Leadership Team:
- Inability for the Visionary to Let Go. Due to the work put into the company, the Visionary tends to want to hang on to many seats, roles, or areas.
- Holding Multiple Roles. Only one person should ultimately be in charge of any primary function at any given time to maintain accountability.
- Conducting Work in Multiple Roles. If one person has multiple roles, that person must remember which position they are working in at any given time.
- Being Both the Visionary and Integrator. Early on, the Visionary usually is also the Integrator. This situation can be frustrating for the Visionary due to the lack of traction.
Ask Yourself and Your Team:
- Is this the right structure to get us to the next level?
- Are all of the right people in the right seats?
- Does everyone have enough time to do the job well?
I hope this post has helped you structure your organization using an Accountability Chart. If you have any further questions or need additional help, feel free to comment below or send me an email me at email@example.com. Also, if you are wanting more Process Hacker content, you can subscribe to our short weekly newsletter on Productivity, Habits, and Resources.