When you have the right people in the right roles, they will make sure you have everything else right, all the other components of the business working well and contributing effectively. Get the people and roles right before setting goals and settling strategies.

 There are at least three perspectives to this.

 First, every now and again step back from your business and think about each of your key people; is each the right person in the right role? Sometimes the right person a year ago isn’t the right person now, or going forward.

 Second, when you are engaged in planning (your annual business plan, planning a new business, planning a takeover or merger, planning a new mine or a new engineering consultancy), get the right people involved and start a bottom-up planning process. It can work brilliantly; start with each unit in your business working out their forward action plan then get the contributors to pull this together. The bi product is contributors can use this initiative to stretch their roles.

 Finally, are you the right person? And are you in the right role? It’s a good question to ask yourself.

 (A bow of appreciation to Richard Semmler).

 PS. Most roles develop over time. Changing business priorities, technological change, performance reviews and regular one-on-ones can change the direction of responsibilities without the formal role description changing. It’s important to check from time to time that the role is the ‘right’ role.