Who’s on First

Written by Joe Driscoll

November 26, 2009

I was visiting someplace last week and I was introduced to four new people. Actually they weren’t new to me, I had meet them many times before, I just hadn’t recognized them working together so well. I don’t want to say where that someplace was, it could be anyplace, just make sure it’s not your place.

Actually, it was no place, but it could have been at lot of places. It was just a sign on the wall, but it was a sign that put a smile on my face. It’ll put a smile on your face as long as these guys don’t work at your place.

“This is a story about four people, Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.

Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have!”

This story brought to mind the old Abbott and Costello baseball routine about “Who’s on first?” “Who’s on first”, “I don’t know” is on second and “what’s” on third. When the answer is the same as the question, confusion reigns supreme.

Who’s on first in your business? It must be somebody, but it could be anybody. There are times when it should be everybody, but there are others times when it seems like nobody.

How can you prevent this comedy routine from becoming no laughing matter in your business? Sound organizational principles are the key. Good organizations are commonplace, but so aren’t our friends Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

Organizing is the management function that defines relationships between activities and individuals while assigning authority, responsibility and accountability. Effective organization begins by determining what activities must be done to accomplish the desired objectives.

The activities are then assigned to individuals who are given appropriate authority to meet their assigned responsibilities. Relationships are then established amongst the various working groups. The end result of the organization process is an organization; a group of unified parts that work in concert to achieve agreed upon objectives.

The organizational structure of any business is a tool management uses to facilitate the successful implementation of its plans. Organizations don’t drive businesses, plans do. Organization begins with and is governed by plans. Plans state where a business is going and how its going to get there.

Organizations are built or modified so that plans can be properly executed. As plans and circumstances change, so too must organizations.

Of course Everybody already knows the principles of good organization and Anybody can implement them. It’s just that every now and then Somebody forgets and Nobody reminds them!!

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