I hope you all are staying well, safe and healthy!
I recently went through an exercise with the team at Entrepreneurship at Cornell. We have all been working remotely (obviously), and I wanted to get a very good read on how each team member viewed his/her primary contributions to our program. So I went back to basics and asked each team member to send a list of bullet points describing their material functional duties. Importantly, I only asked for bullet points (knowing that sometimes it is hard to be concise) and material duties (so things that are ongoing and not one-off small tasks). I gave examples to the team for me and our assistant director. Here was my list:
- Manage the Governing Board, including meeting preparation
- Manage the Advisory Council, including meeting preparation
- Heavily involved in all aspects of Eclectic Convergence speaker selection, planning and hosting the event
- Heavily involved in all aspects of Celebration planning and hosting
- Represent EaC with central administration (particularly Provost, AAD, VP of Research, VP of HR and VP of Communications)
- Heavily involved in all aspects of EaC budget setting and planning; responsible for budget results
- Heavily involved in all aspects of fund raising for EaC (including corporate sponsor interface)
- Heavily involved in the Student Business of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year and Beck Fellows selection
- Chair of eLab, responsible for budget
- Represent EaC on various Cornell related boards (for example, McGovern, Praxis)
- Responsible for hosting faculty/staff lunches
- Responsible for EaC performance and staff
- Interface directly with Student Agencies on eHub and other matters
- Supervise the EaC team
I got back responses from the team, and we will review this week as a group at our staff meeting so that everyone knows what everyone else perceives as their primary functional duties. I am hoping that the discussion will lead to a few edits.
The exercise got me thinking about job descriptions. I have NEVER been a huge fan of them. In fact, I think that job descriptions are most (perhaps only) useful in the initial hiring process. Beyond that they can serve to stifle innovation, creativity and growth. I would hope that people would want to continually find new things to do at work – things that interest them, things that advance the “office agenda”, things that engage others, etc. Things that might not fit into their job description. I hope to never hear “that is not in my job description” :). Sure, there are only so many hours in a work day, but job evolution is part of what makes going to work enjoyable.
Doing the bullet point exercise periodically (perhaps yearly) could be a great way to keep things fresh and encourage innovation at work. The bullets are like a “live” job description. Never gets stale!
Finally getting some spring weather in Ithaca! Have a great week.