Where are we going? What are we doing?

The importance of roles and responsibilities.

Where are we going? What are we doing? The importance of roles and responsibilities.A great idea can be the first step in the process of creating something wonderful. Bringing the right people together adds power to the idea. Having roles and responsibilities to guide the work can turn possibility into reality.

If you want your idea to grow, be deliberate about who you invite to join your team. Think about what you are trying to achieve and what it might take to get there. Consider who has the required skills, resources, creativity and connections. Make a list. Know why you are inviting people and what you want from them. Be prepared for ideas, suggestions and leadership you may not have anticipated.

Write down the role and responsibilities you want each person to claim. Share your list with potential team members as you invite their participation. This lets people know what you are looking for, what you want them to do, what they can expect, and how they can best contribute. This can also establish norms for the group and help make sure you and your team don’t get overwhelmed or sidetracked.

When inviting people to work with you be prepared for them to suggest a role – or to take on a responsibility – you may not have imagined. That can be a good thing and it can moderate the feeling that you are “boxing people in” with roles and responsibilities. You want people to bring their best game, to know you have thought through a meaningful role for them to play, and to experience a structure that supports their highest level of participation.

Where are we going? What are we doing? The importance of roles and responsibilities.Think about it this way: You bring the right people together. They are busy turning your idea upside down, creating solutions, envisioning partnerships, and identifying resources and connections they can contribute. They spend hours thinking through the ins-and-outs of your idea and have an initial blue-print for how to proceed. At the end of the process, they learn that their thoughts are appreciated as input, but someone else (not in the room!) will decide how to roll out the idea. If your group members were participating with the understanding that you wanted their best thinking they may just feel they “wasted their time.”

Here are 14 ways that roles and responsibilities can positively impact your organization or team:

  1. People know how often they are required to meet, or if they will be asked to meet at all
  2. They know whether or not they are asked to give money or ask others for money
  3. They know how decisions will be made. This could be by consensus, a vote, or by another means.
  4. Each person understand what you want them to do
  5. They understand why they were invited to be a part of the group
  6. They understand what you are seeking to achieve
  7. They understand who has organizational “power” within the group
  8. People know what they can expect from each other, and what they should expect from themselves as a group
  9. Tasks are not duplicated
  10. Tasks are completed on time
  11. Time is used appropriately
  12. Progress can be made towards agreed upon goals
  13. Participants know who is responsible for what
  14. Expectations can be raised or lowered

Here are a few final things to consider:

  1. Finalize agreed upon roles and responsibilities in writing to help avoid misunderstandings
  2. Share everyone’s roles and responsibilities with the full team so each person knows the role of each team member
  3. Build in incentives, acknowledgement and recognition that communicates your appreciation

Talented, creative and connected people can help birth or grow an idea and expand its potential. The type of people you bring together – along with defined roles and responsibilities – will define how, when, and if the idea takes root.


Copyright 2018 – Mel and Pearl Shaw

Mel and Pearl Shaw believe in roles and responsibilities – they can help make fundraising (and life!) easier. Learn more at www.saadandshaw.com.

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