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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

Sizing Up the Fit of Roles and Responsibilities

Who’s with us here? In the back of your closet there is a little space where you keep that shirt or jacket that you just can’t get rid of. Every time you look at it you experience a nagging feeling. The feeling that you just can’t part with it because it has some sort of value, sentimental or other.  Even though any clutter expert would tear it out of your hands and throw it into the donation pile, you hold on to it

You remember when you first got the piece of clothing. It felt great, you loved the color or it was attached to a special event. As time passes your emotions may change, but you may not be able to put your finger on what is different. The garment looks the same to everyone else, but to you the sensation is altered. And the question remains, should it stay or should it go?


In our work lives, our organizational role is like that piece of clothing. It is the thing that we wear at work and defines our workload and influences how we interact with others. The job description is the pattern for the role and it is knitted together by the tasks included in the description. Over time, the feel of the job may change just like that vintage shirt in your closet. It may not be noticeable to others because the work is getting done. But when a job doesn't fit like a glove it can lead to decreased performance and increased dissatisfaction.


The alteration in the fit of the job may be the result of your personal evolution or changes in the company. Think about that feeling of getting a new job. You are excited about the opportunity and maybe a little nervous. As you settle in and gain some expertise, your position can become as comfortable as your favorite sweatshirt. You may move forward with ease enjoying your developing role. Alternatively, rather than feeling energized by your job, you may start to feel constricted. Or, business conditions change, leaving you feeling ill equipped to embrace new responsibilities.


Spending time at regular intervals to assess the roles and responsibilities of an organization is essential to tailor the fit of the workforce to the fabric of current business conditions. It is important to assess if individuals are well suited for their roles as well as analyzing if the roles continue to serve the company.


How do you figure out if positions need altering? 

We have a wonderful example of one way to get this process started.  


We spent a truly inspiring morning with the staff of the Center for Resiliency. They provide support to healthcare workers by teaching practical, relevant tools to counter burnout and facilitate opportunities for authentic conversations. They have worked together for a number of years and the organization has grown significantly in that time.


We had each member of the team prioritize their responsibilities based on how much emotional or cognitive energy a certain task took. For example, a task in their job description could be very important for the organization, but not take a lot of energy due to their experience. In this exercise, that job responsibility might be rated lower than a new responsibility that was still in the process of being incorporated into their work life. 


We had to have some fun with it (a hallmark of G2 Solutions’ work with companies). Using these modified job descriptions as a blueprint, the Center for Resiliency’s staff used Mega Blocks to create buildings that represented their perceptions of their jobs.


Having them creatively represent their positions and take time to think about the energy they expended led to some deep, insightful, and compassionate discussions. It stimulated new ideas about how they could support each other, streamline communication and redistribute responsibilities so that everyone on the team could maximize their impact. We can’t say enough about this amazing group of people. They showed such caring for one another and dedication to the work that they do. We truly felt honored to guide them in this important process.


We encourage you to take some time to determine the fit of the roles and responsibilities for your team and see if they need any tailoring. G2 Solutions can guide you through this process so that when your employees hit the runway, they feel well prepared and energized.

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