Clarify Roles and Responsibilities Up Front

Get-It-Done Guy explains how clarifying roles and responsibilities in a project up front can save you time and effort.

Stever Robbins
1-minute read

Clarify Roles and Responsibilities Up Front

Projects get derailed and things stall when you have people working at cross purposes. Here's an example: Two people believe they are the note taker for a meeting. At the end of the meeting, both start sharing their notes and realize they've duplicated work. Now there's a quandary: Whose notes get used? Who gets the credit for taking the notes? Who gets to decide what does and doesn't go into them?

The stakes are low with meeting minutes, but this happens in bigger ways, too. Two people end up approaching the same supplier, they each believe they have the final say on the same decisions, or they each are working on the same part of a project.

When you start a project, a meeting, a negotiation, or contact with a supplier, take the time to define roles. Decide who is responsible for which tasks, and what kinds of decisions that person can make without having to bring the decisions back to the group.

Just the process of clearly defining roles often uncovers hidden gotchas and things you weren't thinking about before. You'll have a chance to talk them out so once you move into action, you won't be derailed by stepping on each other’s toes. Instead, you'll be able to move full speed ahead.

 Business Meeting image from Shutterstock

About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.