The best way to understand how to use Responsibility Charting is to think of a situation where the outcome failed to achieve the results you expected. Then, make note of the various tasks each of the folks involved should have undertaken and the order in which each task should have been completed. Now, visualize each person with a letter beside his or her name identifying one of the following roles and relationships.
Roles and Relationships
- [R]-Identifies the person responsible for completing the task. This is the person accountable for taking action. As a general rule, there will only be one [R] for each task. The person selected needs to understand and accept the performance expectations such as the budget, timelines, production standards, and any other factors that are critical to the successful completion of this task.
- [A]-Identifies the person whose approval is needed before action is taken. This makes it clear to the person assigned the [R] that he/she needs to confer with someone higher up the chain of command with authority before taking action. The [R] will also need to check with whomever is assigned the [A] to determine just how far he/she can go before providing additional feedback on what has been accomplished.
- [C]-Indicates those with whom a consultation is required or recommended. Assigning one or more [C]s to the task makes it clear the [R] will not be working alone. The [C]s need to know how much time, talent, and treasure they are expected to contribute, this is best accomplished while the [R] and [A] are present. After the resources are approved, only the [R] and the [C]s need to attend future task meetings—a time saver for everyone.
- [I]- Identifies those who need to be informed through status updates from the [R] as the task progresses. The [I]s are just receiving information and not held responsible for picking up the slack if the [R] falls behind or fails to perform as planned. Also, the [I]s do not need to attend future task meetings because the person assigned the [R] will keep them informed— another time saving feature.
Armed with the knowledge of how to rectify the unintended consequences, you are now in a position to share your findings with those involved. Walking them through the Responsibility Charting process will demonstrate how each of them would have been better off collaborating and communicating with other coworkers who had the information and expertise necessary to produce the desired outcome.