How to use responsibilities to define your business operations

I don't know about you, but I used to shudder when I heard the word responsibility.

"Ugh, What do I have to be responsible for now?" would be the first thought in my head.

But my attitude about responsibility changed when I came to recognize that instead of seeing responsibility as a burden, it could actually be an opportunity for liberation, and just as importantly a way to organize the operations in business.

Now you're probably wondering how responsibility can be a form of liberation, and it comes down to understanding that when you define responsibility, in your business or life, what you're really doing is saying, "Here's something that needs to be done and here's why it needs to be done and here's how it will benefit us if its done."

You see, responsibility, when employed effectively, helps people understand why they are doing what they are doing. It also helps them recognize when they need to hand something off to someone else, because of how the responsibility shifts.

The Relationship between Responsibility and Business Operations

When I started working with one of my clients, an accountant, I remember him telling me how his business operations was a mess. No one in the office did what they were supposed to do and there were lots of toes being stepped on, which resulted in low morale, hurt feelings, and unhappy clients getting late deliverables.

After he described this nightmarish situation to me, I asked him, "What are the responsibilities for each position in your company?"

He didn't have an answer because no responsibilities had been defined. He could tell me what he wanted them to do, but a task isn't the same as a responsibility. A task is simply the work you want done, without any context or purpose defining it.

And that's where responsibilities come into play...

When you define the roles in your business operations, you also want to define the responsibilities with those roles. By defining the responsibilities, you help the person in the role under the purpose of the work their doing, and just as importantly help them recognize when they need to hand that work off to someone else, or pass it along the business operations.

If you're not sure how to define responsibilities in your business, the video below walks you through that process and I also have a worksheet for you that can help you develop responsibilities for yourself and other people working for you.

Do you see how defining responsibilities can also help you define your business operations and the systems you use to run your business. Even if you're a solopreneur, this can be a useful exercise to do because it helps you figure out not only what you are responsible for, but also what responsibilities you want to hand off to other people.

You may not be able to hand off those responsibilities right away, but when it comes time to delegate work, you'll know how to explain what you want the person to take on and help them understand the pivotal role they are taking on.

Need help defining the responsibilities in your business? Get the Responsibilities worksheet below.