How can I develop a structure which allows for growth?

How can I ensure the focus of each part contributes to the whole?


How well is our business organised to implement our strategy, i.e. is there clear accountability for each action plan?

Do we have an organisation chart?

Do people understand their roles and responsibilities in our organisation?

Are there strong management practices in place?

Does our business operate efficiently or are there inefficiencies and breakdowns in systems and workflows?

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How well is our business organised to implement our strategy, i.e. is there clear accountability for each action plan? 

Accountability is the ability to track who has ultimate responsibility for a particular job duty. An activity should be uniquely traceable to an individual so that it does not become neglected by the organisation.

This step involves defining the key activities in the business and assigning individuals to take accountability for them. Part of this process involves an assessment of the level of expertise in the existing team and identifying any apparent gaps in skills and experience. These can be addressed through training or recruitment if necessary.

It is important to involve all team members in this process and to ensure that all changes are communicated effectively.

TIME TO COMPLETE: 5-20 days depending on the present situation within the business and assuming widespread involvement.


Step 1 - Define the business activities that support the strategy

Brainstorm all of the key activities necessary for the business to achieve its strategy. Document and group activities into functional roles.

This is not intended to cover every small activity that occurs in the business. It may help to conduct this exercise using the following broad

  • Does it create or impact sales? - e.g. setting prices, giving discounts, filling in timesheets
  • Does it create a significant cost? - e.g. purchasing, recruitment, setting pay levels, expense reimbursement
  • Does it impact an asset? - e.g. equipment purchases or sales, depreciation and write-off policies, intangibles (think of the brand, patents, trademarks etc.)
  • Does it create (or have the potential to create) a liability? - e.g. contracts, taxation, regulatory requirements (OH&S, sexual harassment, anti-discrimination, environmental)

Step 2 - Define the roles and responsibilities necessary to support the strategy

Based on these activities, document the roles and responsibilities that will support the implementation of the strategy.

NOTE: This Action Step is only concerned with allocating roles and responsibilities; it is not intended to map entire processes and activities - that is the action step on systemise key internal processes.

Step 3 - Review existing team members and identify any gaps

Having identified key activities which require someone to take accountability for them, now assess the capabilities of the team members in the business to ensure that there is sufficient management experience and expertise to support them. Where gaps are apparent, list the areas where people need to be developed or where new team members are required.

Step 4 - Assign team members to be accountable for the business activity

Compare the current roles and responsibilities with the new roles and responsibilities. Identify any differences and check if changes are appropriate. Document the roles and responsibilities, outlining in your document who is responsible for what. Assign key performance indicators in each functional area so that people's performance can be measured in the areas for which they are to be held accountable.

Step 5 - Communicate roles and responsibilities to team members

Hold individual meetings with team members to communicate and agree upon accountabilities. Communicate new roles and responsibilities to team members. Organise a team meeting to announce the new roles.


A document that explains each team member's roles and responsibilities, and assigns individual accountability to each business activity. Note, this is closely allied to the action step on developing an organisation structure so if that has occurred, or an organisation chart already exists, it is probably advisable to distribute them together.


Involve the team in the process so that they are not intimidated by the changes you are implementing and so that they fully understand the reasons for any changes.

Play the role of a third-party observer. Offer constructive feedback on the ability of team members. They will value that advice.

Work to delegate and involve other team members where appropriate.


Over-complicate the process. You can suffer from paralysis by analysis in trying to assign accountabilities to every single task in a business. Stay focused on those tasks that are the key ones.

Avoid tough decisions. If it becomes obvious that someone in a managerial position is clearly not up to the job, then it's often better to make a decision to replace that person sooner rather than later in the process. Remember the old adage - if you can't change the people, change the people.

Don't think that you need to be accountable for everything.