Glossary of Requisite Organization Terms

Revised April 19, 2013

Accountability:  The agreement to be called to account by another person.

Assign a task:  Make an employee accountable for working effectively on the task.

Calling to account: A conversation in which person A:

  • reminds person B of what B had agreed to do
  • establishes that B has not done what they agreed to do
  • discusses actions A will take as a result to address B’s failure to do as agreed.

Capability:  An individual’s ability to succeed in role, comprising:

  • Information processing capacity
  • Skills and knowledge
  • Values
  • Absence of personal dysfunction

Collateral relationship: The relationship between two subordinates of the same manager.  They are to work with each other as their manager specifies and to go to the manager for clarification when in disagreement about how to work together.

Cross-functional working relationships:  Relationships in which one role (A) has the authority to initiate specified types of tasks with the other role (B).

There are four types of role relationships for getting the other employee to do something:

  • Advising:  Listen to and consider my advice.  (I am your eyes and ears.)
  • Service getting:  Do this for me, and do it when I want you to if you can.
  • Prescribing:  Do this!  (Health and safety are at risk.)
  • Coordinating:  Work together in a way that supports my plan.  (If you need to work counter to my plan, I may tell you to delay while I escalate.)

There are two types of role relationships for getting the other employee(s) to not do something:

  • Monitoring:  Consider not working counter to my plan.  (If you need to work counter to my plan, I may tell you to delay while I escalate.)
  • Auditing:  Do not work counter to my plan.  (If you need to work counter to my plan, you may escalate.)

Cross-over manager (of Employees A and B):  The first person in an organization with a chain of managerial authority down to both A and B.

Current applied capability:  The level of effectiveness an employee currently works at.  Determined by cognitive capacity, skills and knowledge, values and absence of personal dysfunction.

Current potential capability:  The level of effectiveness an employee could currently work at had s/he the necessary skills and knowledge and values.  Determined by cognitive capacity

Effectiveness:  How well an employee works on assigned tasks.  Effectiveness is an attribute of the employee’s work on a task, not a measure of output.

Employee:  Someone who accepts compensation for accountability for:

  • working effectively and with full commitment on tasks assigned by manager:
  • giving one’s manager one’s best advice, including:
    • “My output will be less than what you assigned.”
    • “My output could be more than what you assigned.”
    • “Here’s something different I think I/you/they should be working on.”
  • staying within policy

Empowerment:  Being in a work environment that allows one to do one’s best work, achieved through:

  • role aligned with capability
  • tasks aligned with the role
  • resources aligned with accountability
  • manager who provides context/value

Information processing capacity (IPC): The ability to handle complexity, to exercise judgment.

Initiate a task:  Instruct an employee to start working on a task (or to stop working outside of a plan or policy).  Used when the initiator is not the employee’s manager, and the manager will hold the employee accountable for working appropriately with the initiator.

Leadership:  The ability to set a direction and coordinate the efforts of others to reach it

Manager:  An employee accountable for:

  • subordinates’ outputs
  • maintaining a team of capable subordinates
  • exercising leadership practices in a context of dialogue
  • continual improvement

M2R (M3R etc.):  Manager Twice (Three times, etc.) Removed

Manager once Removed (MoR):  A manager of managers with accountability and authority for:

  • developing talent pool
  • hearing appeals by SoRs
  • mentoring SoRs
  • ensuring that subordinate managers are effective, efficient and trust building
  • designing role relationships among SoRs not subordinate to the same manager
  • determining the level and purpose of SoRs’  roles and approve role design.
  • approving candidate list from which subordinates choose their subordinates

Manager Twice (Three times, etc.)  Removed (M2R, M3R etc.):  A manager of a manager (of a manager, etc.) of managers.

MoR:  Manager once Removed.

Negative temperament (-T):  Psychological problems that would keep an individual from doing what s/he wants to, e.g. alcoholism, uncontrollable rage, anxiety, etc.  The inability of the individual to control their tendencies to behave inappropriately.

Output:  The result of the employee’s work.  Determined by effectiveness, resources and opportunity

Personal dysfunction:  See “Negative temperament”

Responsibility:  A feeling of obligation.

Role: A position in an organization with defined level of work and areas of accountability.

Knowledge:  Ability to use a fact to solve a problem without bringing the fact to consciousness

Skill:  Ability to use a method to solve a problem without bringing the method to consciousness

SoR:  Subordinate once Removed

Subordinate once Removed:  The subordinate of a subordinate.

Stratum:  A managerial level containing of roles of similar complexity as measured by time span

Str. I  1 day – 3 months

Str. II  3 months – 12 months

Str. III  1 year – 2 years

Str. IV  2 years – 5 years

Str. V  5 years – 10 years

Str. VI  10 years – 20 years

Str. VII  20 years – 50 years

Str. VIII  50 years – 100 years  (only for the CEO-role in a few very large corporations)

Task:  The accountability to apply one’s full capability to produce a specified quantity of output to be achieved within quality standards within a time target using specified resources.  QQT/R

Time span of a role:  The intended length of the longest task in the role.

  • The longest task may be:
    • a project, e.g. “Install the new IT system in 18 months.”
    • a rolling target, e.g. “Always be working on the product line we will need in three years.”
    • work within monitoring, e.g. ”Answer the phones efficiently and politely.  I’ll be monitoring your work and will know within two weeks if you are not working up to my standard.”
  • The longest task may not the most important task or most obvious task.
  • There will likely be shorter tasks within the role as well.
  • Time span indicates the longest the incumbent could possibly work marginally below standard before the manager would find out.

Note: time span measures the complexity of a role.  Length of a task does not measure task complexity.

Values:  What one is drawn to do or to avoid.  E.g. some employees value doing managerial work while others would rather avoid it.  Values are of different strength. 

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Herb Koplowitz
Terra Firma Management Consulting

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