The Simplest Job Descriptions

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Simpler is usually better. According to the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), the ability to simplify is one of the five leadership abilities you need to master to grow your organization. (The five are: Simplify, Delegate, Predict, Systemize, and Structure)

Over time, job descriptions can get complicated. As the company grows and people take on more roles and ‘help out’ wherever they can, we can begin to lose the clarity we need to keep things simple. People are doing more than we intended them to do – or they might even be doing things we never intended them to do. Performance can suffer as a result.

A Story of Growth

My HVAC company, BlueHat Mechanical, recently hit an inflection point. As we experienced rapid growth this year, we identified a few issues issues around people having enough time capacity to do their jobs well. Our Service Manager struggled to share project management roles with our Project Engineer, and we began to order more equipment than our Dispatcher could manage. We performed the ‘Delegate and Elevate’ exercise and hired a Project Manager and a Parts Coordinator. At the same time, we decided to hire another contract sales person. With these three new positions, our Accountability Chart popped!

The changes affected more than just the people directly involved. Adding the new people to our all-in-one sales/operations/finance Level 10 meetings proved to be unmanageable – we ‘Hit the Ceiling’. We created separate meetings for each. After a few of these meetings, we began to feel like we had real ‘departments’ and our roles became clearer. It was an adjustment for some, but the clarity and simplification was refreshing.

Time to Simplify

As I rethought our functions and roles, I discovered that a simple job description just has to cover 3 things:

  1. What the company needs the person to do (EOS Roles of the Function)
  2. How progress towards fulfilling those Roles will be measured (EOS Scorecard Metrics)
  3. How you expect the person to behave (EOS Core Values)

For our new Contract Sales position, I decided the position could simply be described this way:

  1. We want you to help us do these things:
    • Grow our base of Maintenance Customers
    • Apply a consistent sales pipeline methodology
    • Manage marquee accounts
  2. As evidenced by these metrics:
    • Add $300,000 of new contract value each year
    • Add 10 new leads and perform 2 site surveys each week
    • Renew 90% of service agreements each year
    • Deliver $500,000 worth of project leads to Project Salesperson
  3. And behave this way (live our Core Values):
    • Have a Positive Attitude
    • Be a Good Communicator
    • Have a Strong Work Ethic
    • Raise the Bar
    • Act with Integrity

This format ties success metrics directly to the roles of the function and includes the Core Values of the company. These are the primary ingredients to make sure you are recruiting the Right Person for the Right Seat (function) in your company.

These concepts are taught in the book Traction by Gino Wickman. They are part of the core tool of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS).

  • To learn more, you can download a free chapter of Traction here: EOS Traction Chapter 1
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