Robert M. Tomasko

Most corporate structures use inappropriately sized building blocks: jobs. Most work is either too small or too big for one job. Jobs are also very static entities – dangerous in the long run to the health of both the jobholders and the companies they work for. In many companies, jobs need to be eliminated completely – while retaining the workers.

In cases where the work is too big for any one individual, organize around teams instead. Don’t also designate individual positions; you will just pollute the team concepts. Make sure team (not individual) performance is evaluated and rewarded. For teams to reach their full potential and not just be “window dressing,” they can’t be add-ons or overlays. They must be the basic unit of organization,

When most work comes in units smaller than the traditional job, replace employees’ jobs with portfolios of assignments. Jobs get taken for granted, go on forever, and tend to come in eight-hour workday packages. Assignments have a sense of fluidity, with a clear beginning, middle, deadline, and observable output. They can more easily accommodate flextime and telecommuting. Sometimes the best way to eliminate the “it’s not in my job description” lament is by eliminating the idea of the job.

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