What’s your role?

When starting on new business projects its great that everyone knows and understands their role in the project.

I am currently involved in an Education project that isn’t really going anywhere as people are a little confused over what their roles are.

The insight into what’s your role is the be very clear on the specific levels of engagement on a project and ensure everyone knows what role they play AND engage in a way appropriate to their role.

Here’s a handy way to categorize different types of engagement on a given project. 

  1. Principal – You’re driving the process. You’re the man. You have control. This is your life and you’re the person to make the project a success.
  2. Board Member – You’re probably an investor. You’re regularly meeting with the principal. You’re thinking about the project even when you’re not formally scheduled to be doing so. You’re continually up to speed on the latest and greatest ideas and activities.
  3. Investor – You’re a supporter (financially or with periodic bursts of time), but you’re not actively involved in the project. You’ll meet with the principal occasionally. If you’re called to do something, you have enough context such that you can be helpful on a reactive basis, but you won’t have up to date knowledge.  Your life isn’t filled with the project.
  4. Friend. You enjoy talking to the principal. But the moment you walk away from the breakfast or lunch – that’s it. You’re not thinking about it anymore.

Of course, the lowest level of engagement on a project is no engagement.

Next time you decide to get involved with an idea, which tier of engagement will you commit to? Clarifying this for yourself and for the other party involved can be super helpful.

Now all I have to do is persuade the guy running our project, to act more like a principal and less like a friend!