STARTING POINT - HOW TO USE ROLE MAPPING?
Role Mapping can be performed by using one of the following starting points:
a. An existing data set. Our experts can assess whether the Role Mapping framework can be readily applied to your existing work
b. A new assessment based on a special network survey and (if needed) your own set of questions used in the analytical phase of the project.
THE CASE STUDY - CONTEXT
The principal consultant was tasked to support and help develop the client company in a period of transition. The client company was a “mature start-up” spun out of a large corporation. The new leaders were picked from different areas of the mother company and given various mandates in the new start-up.
However, there was concern that during this change process the connectedness and social capital aspects were not taken into consideration and the new company would start being productive in a very long time.
THE ROLE MAPPING PROCESS
The consultant had already conducted her own analysis. During her interactions with 39 senior managers at the client company, the consultant asked each of them to indicate the extent of their worked-related communication with one another.
The consultant arranged that data in the form of a matrix.
She could not:
◾ Identify influentially positioned individuals to make the transition smooth and fast
◾ See gaps, bottlenecks, redundancy, and other properties thought to reduce the robustness of the network as a whole.
This was a result of her inability to gauge everyone’s importance and influence from the raw survey data.
Also, what the structural analysis does not reveal is information about individual roles in the network. She could see the communication is robust, but she couldn’t say whether the responsibility for this is shared equally among all individuals. Typically, it is not.
As such, understanding who plays what role in the organization is a major concern.
Another thing she couldn’t discern is whether the communication network is robust across the boundaries that define departments, business groups, and locations.
JOIN21 provided their Role Mapping services and helped the consultant visualize the leaders in a network.
The ROLE MAPPING ACTION PACK contained:
◾ A nominal list of people who would best act as Coordinator, Gatekeeper, Represent, Consultant, Liaison
◾ An assessment of collaboration and communication diffusion in the company
◾ Extra red flags in the existing network that provided the consultant with a couple of subsequent consultancy projects.
HOW THE CONSULTANT BOOSTED GENERAL CONNECTEDNESS
➡ THE CONSULTANT WAS ABLE TO ENSURE THERE ARE NO COMMUNICATION BOTTLENECKS
The structural analysis showed that the communication network as a whole was very robust. The positional analysis revealed that 25-30% of the participants shoulder a disproportionate load in brokering communication across key boundaries. The consultant followed up to ensure that their roles are not overly burdensome. One consideration is to understand the content—not just the structure—of their communication. If there were others who have the knowledge and communication skills to perform the same roles, the consultant encouraged that shift.
➡ THE CONSULTANT DISCOVERED SHE NEEDED TO STRATEGICALLY INCREASE AWARENESS OF KEY STAFF
Several people are not known by and/or do not know a significant percentage of the others. In the case of R&D, where several members are “unknowers” and “unknowns”. The consultant was able to help determine why this was the case and what changes could be implemented to increase everyone's awareness of everyone else.
➡ THE CONSULTANT NEEDED TO ENSURE COMPLETE OR MUCH HIGHER REPRESENTATION OF ALL RELEVANT DEPARTMENTS
The collaboration that the client needed to succeed relied in part on strong communications of people beyond those included in this analysis. The Sales and Legal & IP departments were not represented at all in this analysis while HR was represented by only two people.
➡ THE CONSULTANT CONSIDERED AN EXPANDED SET OF RELATIONSHIPS IN A FOLLOW-UP ANALYSIS
Among the possibilities offered by Role Mapping, the consultant considered information-or advice seeking, and a more traditional awareness question. In the former case you ask people who and/or how often they seek out others for information, knowledge, or advice concerning work-related matters. In the latter case you ask people how much they know about the other’s skills, abilities, responsibilities, etc.
THE OVERALL RESULT
The consultant succeded to help the new company transition and become an effective stand-alone organism, as well as managed to alleviate other unseen negative patterns by merely using the Role Mapping assesment on her very own data set.
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