Know Your Job: The Importance of Role Clarity in Organizations


As football nation prepares itself for the season’s biggest game, I am reminded of the New England Patriots most widespread mantra, “Do Your Job”. Whether you are a New England Patriots fan or not, it is undeniable that the phrase has become widely known and is now a staple in the Patriots organization. Based on the concept that when every member of the Team does their job well, it will result in achieving the goal.

What can be learned from this simple yet poignant movement is truly a lesson in role clarity and team management. According to John Baldoni , a contributor  for Forbes Magazine:

"More deeply such a system, which New England practices, is that they see in you something that no one else does. The Pats may be your last best hope to achieve excellence in the game. At the same time there is faith in you as a player. And when a player senses that management believes in him, there is pressure to play well, but there is also the belief that someone has your back.”

This concept can be easily translated to any organization in both the for-profit and non-profit world, but for our purposes, we can focus on the latter. Society truly depends on the health and capabilities of our non-profit sectors. Non-profits take on society’s greatest challenges and are often the voice for those that cannot speak for themselves. 

The current increase in demands on nonprofits, stemming from increased needs in communities, means that the Staff and Leaders that comprise an organization must each do their job well in order to drive the organization’s mission forward.

It’s simple. Very straightforward. But what happens when Staff and Management are unclear about what their job is? Or if Staff perception of job tasks do not align with the expectation of Management? 

This is where the lesser known and certainly less catchy phrase comes in, “Know what your job is”. 

While this too, seems to be simple in concept, it is often what keeps countless organizations from successfully implementing the Strategic Plan and achieving goals. 

This breakdown in organizational structure occurs for a number of reasons. In some situations, Staff is unclear about what tasks they are responsible for or there is a miscommunication over expectations. This often results in there being a gap in tasks that need completion or a duplication of efforts. Instability could occur when there is a lack of accountability, leaving everyone to manage themselves without any metrics in place to measure progress. 

Regardless of the cause, in order to strengthen organizational behavior and shape a stronger future, staff and leaders must work with clarity and focus. Enhancing collaboration, building accountability, and improving clarity of purpose and performance leads to efficient and effective organizations that are able to propel strategy forward. 

At Curtis Strategy, we believe that a vital part to this process is the creation of Job Posts. This process allows organizations to establish clarity, accountability, and measured success at all levels. Building job clarity helps improve employee effectiveness and focus, resulting in cost savings and additional revenue generation. 

Staff and Management gain understanding of each job function, and develop a path to achieve success. Success measures are established and training requirements and support systems are identified to ensure goals are met. 

It raises the level of accountability for all members of the Team and in keeping the Job Posts front and center, management is able to best utilize their employees, keeping strategy moving forward.  

This strategically focused outline for success ensures that each member of your organization will know what his or her job is and, in turn, will be able to do the job right.

By Carolyn Madden