If I were King I would issue…guess I’m not sure what Kings issue, so I’d issue an order that permanently did away with job descriptions. Job descriptions are an outdated and ineffective method for describing the roles, responsibilities and desired outcomes from any position in a modern business.
They are nothing more than a laundry list of tasks. They don’t explain the reason for the task. They don’t say anything about how a person’s effectiveness in doing the task will be measured. They don’t say anything about the desired outcomes as a result of successfully completing the task.
Job Descriptions lead to one thing…the dreaded annual review. The only thing I’m unsure of is who dislikes the annual review process more, the reviewer or the individual being reviewed.
Because there is no “depth” to a job description it is full of grayness. The reviewer says “you’re kinda lacking in this area” and the person being reviewed simply deflects the comment away with, “I disagree, I think I’m doing fine in that area. Job Descriptions may, not likely but may, help in hiring someone but they do nothing when it comes to helping develop the person who was hired.
I’d replace the Job Description with a Position Results Description (PRD). The elements of PRD are a statement about what the position entails. It lists the Key Result Areas (KRA) that must be successfully accomplished for the job to have been done well. It lists EXACTLY how “well” will be measured. These measurements are called performance standards.
When discussing the performance of an employee the PRD becomes the guiding document for the discussion. Because the performance standards for each KRA are so precise the “grayness” is gone. A PRD makes it crystal clear whether or not a Key Result Area was successfully accomplished.
It is the precision of the performance standards that eliminates most of the emotion that happens in a performance review. Performance standards also make every coaching conversation more impactful. “You have to do better” is not effective coaching.
When you have a PRD in place effective coaching sounds something like this. “You are doing well with your first two performance standards for your Key Result Area of Building Customer Relationships. Your effort with the 3rd standard of entering every customer contact into Salesforce by 4:30PM each day is lacking. Let’s talk specifically about how I can help you be more consistent with that performance standard.”
Here’s why most people in Leadership Positions shy away from tools like a PRD…they require effort and intentionality. They require that the leader sees developing their people as an investment of their time rather than an expense of their time.
Are you a leader who takes the easy way of using job descriptions or are you a leader who puts forth the effort to truly develop your people with documented and precise performance standards?
To succeed in business today, and tomorrow, you need the right people in the right place at the right time. Job Descriptions do not help you do that. Position Results Descriptions do. Which one do you think you should be using?
On a completely different subject…I’m trying something new out over on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing the kind of things I tweet and blog about. But the best part is I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than regular followers. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”
You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, I can’t promise it will last for a long time but I can promise the content will be helpful as long as it does.