During the team's reframing of business relationships, each person identified the other team members with whom they had communication issues. At this point, they thought about another set of issuesthose related to responsibilities and accountability. As a team member, what issues were they concerned about? Which issues did they believe fell within their area of responsibility? In which cases were they unsure where their responsibility ended and another team member's began ? Which decisions had to be made, and who should make them?
In the past, decisions had been made mainly by Art, either unilaterally or after consulting several individuals one at a time. On one hand, this practice made team members feel disenfranchised and neglected. On the other hand, it was a convenient way of avoiding responsibility and remaining uninvolved. And it increased the level of paranoia among people who felt they were in constant competition. After a decision had been made, it was usually up to Art to defend it to his superiors, a responsibility that he had willingly taken on.
Now, position became less important than value added. Who owned the information needed to make and implement the decision? Whose commitment was essential for implementation?
With this in mind, team members who had overlapping areas of responsibility set up meetings with one another to sort things out. For each issue, this involved creating a road map that outlined, in linear fashion, each step that needed to be taken to achieve resolution. Agreement was reached on who would be held accountable for each step, when they would hand off responsibility, and to which colleague the torch would be passed.
Take head count as an example: When the knotty issue of who gets additional staff and who does not comes up again, it will not be resolved by Art and the vice president of human resources. The HR executive will act as the point person, consulting with the heads of the functional and business groups. Based on the information gathered, this executive will make a recommendation to the full team. For the first time, the teamnot Artwill make the call.