Organizations sometimes lack the structure to grow to the next level. The next level can mean hiring a new employee, opening a new branch, or expanding the company to a new geography. A lack of process might have worked in the past, but often times, is not enough to reach that next big milestone.
Understanding a company’s responsibility matrix, or finding out “who’s responsible,” sets the foundation for a strong and healthy team. The responsibility matrix defines who is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed. Typically done on a process or task level, this framework establishes the various parties involved in execution, management, and oversight.
Responsible: the individual doing the work (typically, a contractor, an associate, analyst, etc)
Accountable: the individual ensuring the work is done correctly and completely (i.e. manager, senior team leader, etc)
Consulted: the individual(s) helping with brainstorming or problem solving (i.e. manager, senior team leader, an expert in the process, etc)
Informed: the individual(s) needing updates on a process or task status (i.e. staff, management, etc)
I recommend having at least the responsible and accountable parties identified with only one person in each of those seats. In the below table, I provide a practical example of what the responsibility matrix might look like at the customer service department of a small eCommerce business. In the first column, I’ve listed some of the tasks of the team, and in each subsequent column, the various parties and their role in a particular task.
I like to point out that the CS Representative might field the initial messages for partnership opportunities and vendor issues, but ultimately, the responsibility lies with a different member of the team. Additionally, the Operations Manager and the Leadership have multiple roles for the last two tasks, but most importantly, there’s no overlap between who is responsible and accountable on a task level.
The responsibility matrix serves as a helpful tool to give teams direction and build accountability. A strong team foundation allows for organizations to grow to the next level.