The principle of separation of roles in business

The principle of separation of roles in business

11.01.2023
The principle of separation of roles in business

Consider how often it happens that two friends start a business. The company is formalized 50/50, both become members of the board and the joint business is ready.

Equal shares, equal rights, equal duties.

It is good when everything is good. But among people inevitably there are different understandings of their duties. Each of the partners performs a convenient and acceptable role for him.

Someone becomes a general director, someone commercial, someone is engaged in production, someone is marketing. And this is where the problems begin. Problems due to the fact that it seems to one that he does much more than the other. And if it is still fueled by emotions, then write wasted … Conflict is inevitable, accusations are inevitable, and few people can look at the situation objectively.

I had one client. Comes all angry, twitchy. I want to tell my partner to withdraw from the company, so much so that there is no rumor about him, no spirit. We began to figure out what and how. Two friends created the company, as usual, 50 to 50. One became the director and steered all the processes, and the second did nothing. The second partner was a slightly bohemian, engaged in esotericism, invented all sorts of necessary and unnecessary things, wrote songs, and the first one at that time worked in production, in workshops.

In general, a typical conflict: one works, the other does not.

We began to paint what one does and what the second. Well, to present the whole long list of requirements, and then an interesting thing turned out: this most slightly bohemian partner is actually a generator of ideas for a joint business. Do nothing for two months, does not appear, and then comes with a bunch of ideas, from which both partners chose the best and implemented it. More precisely, it was carried out by the partner who was the director. At the same time, he himself could not generate a single idea. But since the moments of insight of the bohemian partner were not frequent: once a quarter, once every six months, it seemed that he did not work at all.

In the course of long conversations, my client himself suddenly came to the realization that if he did not have a second, bohemian, partner who invents everything, then he would not have a business. Fortunately for him, he understood the value of his partner, thanked me for a long time and left happy with the bill.

Exactly one month later, both partners have already come to me. But now together and with a question about the distribution of roles. Because the conflict was no longer between partners, but within the team – two members of the board often give mutually exclusive instructions, and employees do not know how to behave – to whom to obey? Whose instructions to follow?

The task was solved in the following way – it was agreed that the overall management of the company would be carried out by only one member of the board – director. The second, a bohemian partner, has retired from the board and is now Creative Director.

It was agreed that all issues related to production, sales, personnel, all issues related to current, tactical issues are decided by the director. All issues related to the company’s development strategy, with new products, are decided by the meeting of owners.

It was clearly spelled out that the creative director, as an employee, reported to the general director, that the creative director had a number of employees subordinate to him, and that his area of responsibility was new ideas.

But it was also agreed that at first once a month, and then once a quarter, both partners meet not as employees of the company – the general and creative directors, but as owners of the company.

And at this moment, when they were the owners, they began to discuss the company’s development strategy; whether to bring new products to market; whether to enter new markets; whether it is necessary to expand the staff (not to take a specific person, but is it worth taking at all), etc.

These discussions took place with enviable regularity for 3-4 hours. As a result, the owners of the company began to understand where they should go next. After each meeting, a protocol was drawn up without fail, which was signed by two owners, since in it the owners gave tasks to the general director.

It seems, well, why not, because the CEO just attended the meeting as one of the owners. Stupidity? In fact, this little nuance, when you, as the owner, draw up a protocol and give an order to yourself as a director, allows you to avoid a lot of misunderstandings.

Each of the owners has their own opinion, but only by drawing up a protocol, this opinion is transformed into goals and objectives prescribed for each employee, including directors. In addition to the prescribed tasks, the deadlines for their execution were also determined, which allowed the owners to control the execution of their instructions.

Remember that the director of the company is always focused on tactics, on solving momentary problems, and the owner of the company should always be focused on strategy, development.

For as the ancient Chinese sage Sun Tzu said: “Strategy without tactics is the longest path to victory, and tactics without strategy is just pointless wasted time.”

The principle of separation of roles in business
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