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Job Descriptions That Win For Everyone

19 December, 2019

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The job description plays one of the most important roles in your business. Without job descriptions, roles are unclear, things get missed and the blame game ensues. Not to mention it makes it very difficult to evaluate, promote and motivate employees or take corrective action when things are going wrong.  You are a ship without a rudder spinning into oblivion! Sure, they can be a pain and take a ton of time, but have you ever heard the phrase, “slow down, we’re in a hurry?” Job descriptions are a perfect example of an action that is worth slowing down for and doing properly, because it will save mountains of time and headaches later.

Now don’t go spending a ton of time writing down every single little task that each person does. No one is going to read that, and it does very little to create responsibility and ownership of a job. And remember, a job is not just simply doing a task, it’s doing it successfully.

“Take time to define what winning looks like,” advises Brian Nolan of Nolan Consulting. “What are the key performance indicators they’re responsible for? Include elements of a position vision — how the position impacts the overall success of the organization. Mention the other roles with which the position will interact. Include elements of teamwork and culture.” [For more from Nolan on job descriptions, listen to Mission:  Vacation’s Job Descriptions podcast at]

Chad Lyons, owner of Lyons Painting & Design, calls his job descriptions “job value propositions.” It’s something he learned from his business coach, Bill Silverman, owner of Springboard Business Coaching. “It all comes back to the value they bring to the company,” Lyons says.

With multiple levels of apprentices, painters and foremen, job descriptions set clear expectations for and responsibilities of each role and lay out the knowledge level expected at each level. Each employee should be given a job description when they come into the company and be periodically tested for knowledge, at which point they can demonstrate growth in the craft and move to the next level.

For Lyons, compensation is based on an individual’s level in the company and clearly laid out in the “painter career path” document. Of course, moving up requires training. Luckily, Lyons Painting has a system in place for that as well. Lyons uses community service projects, especially to train new painters. Employees do the project for free with the caveat that they control the timeline and can train apprentices on the jobsite. This all goes a long way in creating motivation and incentives for getting better every day.

It’s worth noting that as the owner, Lyons did not lay all of this out on his own. Steve Martin oversees training and has taken a significant leadership role in building the job descriptions and career paths. [For more on Steve and his career path as a painter, listen to Lifestyles of the Prepped and Finished: Lyons Painting at]

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