Whether or not you and your spouse work together, the clearer you are about what each of you is responsible for, the better your relationship will be.
In my work with business owners and as a facilitator of Remodelers Advantage Roundtable peer group meetings, I see some of the same issues pop up, over and over again. A company that does not have roles clearly defined is constantly dealing with mistakes and frustrations, with profits lower than planned, and with unhappy clients.
Getting clear about roles and boundaries is especially important if you and your spouse work together. Absent that clarity, there can be very unpleasant disagreements occurring in front of your staff. Everyone feels frustrated, embarrassed, and demotivated.
What are some steps to take to get as clear as you need to be? Here are a couple of them.
Respect the Organization Chart
The hierarchy that is laid out in a good organization chart shows who is responsible for what and who each position respectively reports to. That is a great start.
Where it comes to life is when something needs to be decided. Here is an example:
A lead carpenter comes into the office and asks the head of administration if they can have a week's vacation at a particular time. The head of administration must tell the lead carpenter to first talk to the production manager about this question because that person is the manager of the production department.
By keeping the organization chart front and center at all times, it is less likely that "approvals" will get made without the right people being in the loop. The result is less frustration and more success.
Responsibilities Laid Out Clearly
In a small company, it is not unusual for the owner(s) to fill more than one position. Those positions should all be laid out on the organization chart.
Each of those positions should have a clear set of activities and results the position is responsible for. This is particularly important when spouses are working together. Why? Because one spouse might, with good intentions, overstep their boundaries without the knowledge of the spouse who is actually responsible for getting that activity or thing done. The result is confusion and frustration.
The other reason is to eventually be able to hire employees to do what the owners don't want to be doing. With role clarity and clear understanding of a position's activities and results, it is easier for a company to hire the right person.
It takes personal discipline to stay within one's boundaries. That does not come natural to everyone, but it can be learned. How do I know? Nina and I learned how to do this! Doing so took time, effort, and discussions about role clarity, all of which paid off in the long run.