The purpose of ET Group’s Role Advice Process (RAP) is primarily for exploration of possibilities and can be undertaken by any team member at any time. The process is initiated whenever a team member would like to explore possible changes to their role due to an emerging problem (disengagement from their work, lack of need for the role, the initiation of a FRAP, etc.) or opportunity (emerging new business, desire for growth, gaps needing filled, etc.). For clarity, we’ll call the team member at the center of the RAP the RAP Participant. Any team member can suggest that another team member consider completing a RAP, and it is up to the potential RAP Participant whether or not they engage in the process.
Guide for RAP Participants Think about your roles for a moment. Could you increase your contributions and/or engagement if you redesigned one or more of your roles? Through a RAP, you can define a set of accountabilities best aligned with your strengths and things you enjoy. Does this mean you get to drop everything you don’t enjoy? It does not. At least not until someone else pulls those accountabilities into their role. Any proposal you make must include a path forward for transferring your current accountabilities, which will require support of the appropriate Lead Link(s). A RAP can involve exciting exploration and is often also emotionally challenging. The goal is to stretch yourself by sliding into the Safety/Discomfort quadrant during the process. It’s here where we grow and make progress. Think of it like working out with a personal trainer. To grow your muscles the workout needs to be uncomfortable, and a good trainer will keep you safe from injury.
A RAP has Five Steps: Embark, Announce, Reflect, Advice, Decision
Step 1: Embark
The process can begin with your desire for input into the redesign of your current role(s) or creation of a new role. At other times, a colleague may suggest you initiate a RAP because they have noticed a significant problem or opportunity.
Once started, ownership of the process is with you as the RAP Participant, and the deadline date needs to be clear to all (no more than one month from start to finish). The RAP requires that you make it a priority. Anticipate that there will be delays and bumps along the road and plan accordingly in order to meet the timeline.
You begin by selecting colleagues to provide you with advice and share feedback. Anyone who engages in the process as an advice giver we’ll call an Advisor. When selecting your Advisors, look for diversity including individuals who may provide you with advice that you’d prefer not to hear. Plan to seek advice from five to seven team members. The Lead Link(s) of your circle(s) must be included as Advisors. Before making your kick-off announcement, ensure your Advisors have agreed to participate.
Step 2: Announce It
Next, you declare to the team that you are starting a RAP. A simple post on the Teams General channel will ensure everyone has visibility. The kick-off message should include the names of your Advisors, an open invitation for any team member to become an Advisor, and the date you plan to wrap up the process and share the results. Anyone who expresses a desire to be an Advisor (based on your kick-off announcement and because they believe they have valuable input) must be included in the process.
At this point you should also select a peer mentor--ideally someone who has been through the process themselves or is otherwise familiar with the process--who will be present throughout to provide you with support. The ETG Way Coaches can be helpful in identifying individuals who have experience with the process.
Step 3: Self Reflection
Before seeking advice from others, invest time in documenting some self-reflections that can be shared with your Advisors. Here are some questions to help with your reflection:
Why am I doing this advice process? What led to this?
What are my strengths, talents and interests? Where are they best put to use?
What contribution am I currently making to the team?
What’s working well?
What could be better?
Could I increase my impact by shifting or changing my role? (In what ways, specifically)
What could be gained?
What could be lost?
Who would assume current duties I’d like to hand off?
How do I feel about this potential change?
What am I worried about? Excited about?
What are the pros and cons?
Step 4: Seek Advice
Create a Teams channel for your RAP, invite all Advisors into that channel and share your self-reflection with your Advisors in the channel. Invite your Advisors to share advice via the Teams channel, or if you or they prefer, directly with you. Don’t hesitate to connect live if there’s anything that needs clarifying as misunderstandings can develop rapidly via written communication. You can ask the Advisors to reflect on the same questions you answered in step three.
Step 5: Decision
Taking all information into consideration, you decide if you’d like to craft a proposal to take to the appropriate Lead Link(s) and eventually to Governance. This could include changing roles, altering current roles or even leaving the organization. Making no changes is also a valid decision. When ready, take your proposal to the appropriate Lead Links for discussion.
At ET Group, the Lead Link role includes: “Inviting/de-inviting people to energize roles in the circle; Monitoring resource allocations (people & budget) for the circle; Defining priorities, strategies and metrics for the circle; and Surfacing the governance challenges to better align the circle with its purpose and with other circles.” Therefore, gaining Lead Link support for any role changes is a necessary step in the process. Since the Lead Links have been involved as Advisors in your process, you should already be well on your way.
The creation of any new role needs to go through a circle’s governance process and the Lead Link of the circle then becomes responsible for inviting or de-inviting people to energize that role. This requires announcing the new role in ETG’s role marketplace (search “Role Marketplace”) in Teams and providing a reasonable amount of time for any team member to express interest in the role before making a final decision on the role energizer.
Advisors in the RAP share their thoughts with the appropriate Lead Link(s) but are not decision makers other than as part of regular Governance processes.
Once the decision is made, share it with the organization.
Guide for RAP Advisors
The above Guide for RAP Participants provides details of the process. As an Advisor, your role is to answer questions and provide insights into the participant’s strengths and how they are currently contributing, what a change in role might look like, and how to best align their skills with team needs.
The participant will go through their own retrospective and will share it with you. Don’t feel you need to align or agree with them. Instead focus on providing feedback that gives the RAP Participant data on how they impact you or the team. They may find it uncomfortable and may even become defensive. This is natural and OK. It’s most helpful if you enter the process from a place of care while also saying what needs to be said. It would be a disservice to hold back genuine feedback solely because you don’t want to hurt the RAP Participant’s feelings. As a reminder, the Radical Candor and SBI feedback models are great tools for helping shape good feedback. ETG Way Coaches are also available to help you prepare.
After they have collected feedback and considered it, they will make a proposal on what should happen next. It might be changing roles, altering the current role, leaving the organization, or continuing as is. Any decision making will fall to the appropriate Lead Link(s) and circle Governance.