Roles’ Refresh: The Power of the RACI Analysis

Communication Leadership Team
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Roles’ Refresh: The Power of the RACI Analysis


I recently pulled up alongside an impressive European sports car that couldn’t have been older than a few months. As the car accelerated from the stoplight, it seemed to hover on air and engulf the road ahead as if it were built on the pavement’s undulations and imperfections. A horn sounding from behind awoke me from my mesmerized stare, just as the feat of automotive excellence disappeared. I bring up this moment because it is such a powerful analogy to a finely–tuned business. Although this sports car was obviously just off of the lot, it will need care and tuning over time to keep it operating at its peak efficiency, a preventative maintenance plan, if you will. A preventative maintenance plan is exactly what will keep organizations at peak efficiency within their marketplace; one centered on ensuring that Roles and Responsibilities stay accurate and current.

We have found that regardless of the Organization’s size or market focus, blurring of responsibility lines will slowly but surely happen and subsequently cause an organization to be less than efficient. That is unless the organization has in place a recurring plan to visit the roles and responsibilities of their Leadership and employees to ensure that the talents and focus of the Team stay aligned in support of the vision. A great resource to accomplish this Roles’ Refresh is with the Responsibility, Accountability, Consulted, and Informed (RACI) analysis.

Most people familiar with the RACI analysis have seen its utility applied at the micro levels of an organization. The untapped power of a RACI analysis is truly seen when all micro-level RACI analyses are pulled together, driving consistency across every facet of the organization. The initial investment of time in order to build an organization-wide RACI built can be intimidating to leadership but the goodness and ultimate savings realized in this effort is powerful. A mature organization-wide RACI analysis will reveal gaps, overlaps and inefficient processes that impact the bottom line.

In a recent RACI analysis in an organization of approximately 350 people over 300 gaps and 250 overlaps were identified. The General Manager of one of our clients kicked off his organization-wide RACI initiative by saying that he had the “intestinal fortitude” to see this effort through because “any commitment of time and people will pale in comparison to the impact it will have on them.” This particular GM has led his team through the RACI build, filling gaps and erasing overlaps along the way. His senior leaders, doubtful at first are now believers, one recently saying that she “didn’t see the big picture or why the Boss was so excited about the RACI, it’s obvious now.”

Creating the RACI charts and realizing the initial efficiencies is just the beginning of the goodness. Having the results close at hand for meetings will ensure that the RACI chart (s) stay a real-time resource for the Leadership Teams, helping keep their heads up and eyes fixed on the vision. When change occurs, there is not a better resource than an up-to-date RACI analysis to calm anxiety and re-focus the team.