From the Ask Tom mailbag –
In the levels of work definition, from Elliott Jaques, you have highlighted that
- Strata III – creates the system for production (typically a managerial role).
- Strata II – makes sure production gets done (typically a supervisor role).
- Strata I – production (typically a technician role).
Assuming one is working in a highly technical field, one might have a Systems Architect role at Stratum III, with no reports. Does this then mean that they fulfill ‘
“production” and that a Strata IV role would be the supervisor and a Strata V role creates the system? Or, would you say that the Systems Architect fulfills all three roles? Or something different altogether?
Thanks for the question. You have tipped off a number issues. The example I use most often in my Time Span workshop is a manufacturing or direct service model. These models are easy to understand, both in level of work and managerial relationships.
But there are hundreds (thousands) of business models that are not so straightforward in level of work. The calibration to determine level of work hinges on the length of the longest time span task in the role. As you suggest, in a technical industry, you may have “production” work at S-III, meaning the longest time span task would take longer than 12 months and shorter than 24 months to accomplish. This is quite typical in professional service firms (accounting, legal, financial advisory, engineering, architecture).
Your illustration also reveals the role of an individual technical contributor. An individual technical contributor is not necessarily a managerial role, but likely requires level of work at S-II, S-III or S-IV. Again, this is typical in technical business models.
If you have interest, I describe more details related to level of work, in the book Hiring Talent, for the following business models.
- Managerial roles
- Accounting roles
- Engineering roles
- Computer programming roles
- Sales roles
- Restaurant roles
- Fleet service roles
- Creative agency roles
- Financial planning roles
- Insurance agency roles
- Construction trades roles
- Legal firm roles
- Public accounting roles
- Medical roles
- Educational institution roles (K-12)
Your question also asks about the nature of the managerial relationship for an individual technical contributor where the level of work is S-II, S-III or S-IV. I will save that for tomorrow.