Tag Archives: complexity

How to Measure the Complexity in a Role

“And how big is Ron’s job right now?” I asked.

“Wait a minute, wait a minute,” Eduardo protested. “I am just trying to get my arms around measuring the size of the job by using Time Span.”

“I understand,” I replied. “So, think about it now. Measuring the size of the job using Time Span will become clear.”

“Okay,” Eduardo started. “Ron’s role now is to manage two supervisors with a total staff of twelve people. That’s two supervisors and ten workers.”

“So, what are the tasks and what is the Time Span of the longest task?” I prodded.

“Well, Ron has to teach his supervisors to use the same process he used when he was a supervisor. But he had all that in his head, so now he has to either write it down, or draw a picture, flow chart it out, or something. He has to create the system for his team.” Eduardo stopped. “This is really a different job. I think one of his supervisors isn’t doing that great and needs to be replaced. Ron is going to have to figure out what skills would be valuable to interview for and then he has to go out and recruit.

“He also has some equipment that needs to be replaced with more sophisticated machines, get a bit more automated, but he is going to have to make his case. And he has to budget for it. And he has to get that budget approved. Our budget process alone is done on an annual basis.

“Without thinking much more about it, I think the Time Span required for Ron’s job, now, is about twelve months.”

“So, based on Time Span,” I said, “the size of Ron’s current job is twelve months?” Eduardo was nodding. Time Span as a unit of measure was beginning to sink in.

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Outbound Air

Can He Do the Work?

“The profile on this candidate is outstanding,” Rory explained. “It will take a special person to fill this role, and by golly, I think we have found the right person.”

“The profile is outstanding compared to what?” I asked.

Rory looked askance. “What do you mean?”

“It’s nice that he has a personality, but can this candidate do the work?” I pressed.

“Well, the profile says he is suited for this kind of work. Besides, everyone on the hiring team has interviewed him and they really like him,” Rory defended.

“It’s nice that he is a likeable person, but can this candidate do the work?”

“His resume attracted our attention. It says that he has experience in our field and he answered all of our technical questions. He really speaks our language.”

I let Rory squirm for a minute. He had already made his decision, and was waiting to see if I would support it. Without asking any hard questions. “Rory, this role is for a VP of Operations. It’s nice that he understands the technology, but can this candidate do the work of an Ops VP?”

“I don’t know where you are going with this?” Rory shook his head. “I was hoping you would get on board with this guy.”

“It doesn’t matter whether I get on board. Can he do the work? It’s a big role, integrating your sales, your sales forecast with production. You have six month lead time raw materials, tooling that changes, building to stock, assembling to order, staging, logistics. This guy will be coordinating teams of people in meetings, resolving communication paths, working on bottlenecks, manicuring system constraints. It’s nice that he understands the technical mechanics of your product, but can he do the work of an Ops VP?”

Full Speed Off the Cliff

From the Ask Tom mailbag –

I just joined the HR team here, working on a project to identify the complexity of mental processing of our team members. I just wanted to know, is there any effective tool/test available to identify the 4 types of mental processes. Can you please suggest other techniques apart from interviews to identify the 4 processes. I would be required to use this for recruiting and to assess the (CMP) of current employees.

STOP! You are headed in the wrong direction off a cliff.

I know you think you want to get inside the heads of your employees and have some support for a number (1-4) that you think will be helpful in selecting talent. DON’T PLAY AMATEUR PSYCHOLOGIST! You didn’t take courses in psychology, you don’t have a degree, much less an advanced degree in psychology, you are not certified by your state to practice psychoanalysis. Don’t play amateur psychologist.

Play to your strengths as a manager.

The four states of mental processing (Declarative, Cumulative, Serial, Parallel) can easily be used to determine the Level of Work. That focus will put you on solid ground. What’s the Level of Work? Look at your Role Description. In each Key Result Area (KRA), what’s the Level of Work? What are the decisions to be made in the role? What are the problems to be solved in the role? What are the accountabilities in each KRA? Write those elements into your Role Description.

With the Role Description in hand, create a bank of written interview questions, ten questions for each KRA that will reveal the candidates real experience making those decisions and solving those problems. I know this looks like work, it is. This is managerial work. Don’t play amateur psychologist, play to your strengths, as a manager. It’s all about the work. It’s all about the Levels of Work.