Which Business Hat Are You Wearing?

Man wearing a hat and holding a hat

Early in my career, I was given responsibility for a project that would require a partnership with a globally recognized retailer.

I was introduced to the retailer’s CEO by my mentor and project sponsor. The CEO was famous, lauded for many innovations. He offered his hand and said, “So you’re the young man who’s going to help lead this project. Please tell me more about it.”

I was momentarily tongue-tied in his presence, but I’ll never forget the kindness and tact of my mentor as he rescued me. “Forgive my colleague, for who you are speaks so loudly that he cannot hear what you say.”

In entrepreneurial companies running on EOS®, we often find a company owner working side-by-side with their employees. In those situations, the owner wears two hats, mentally jumping back and forth from being an operator/employee in the business to being an owner of the business. Who they are “speaks loudly.” This undermines the chain of command so that nothing happens without their involvement. Everybody regards the owner as the only boss, and the business suffers from decision-making bottlenecks, politics, and confusion. The EOS Accountability Chart™ can help owners reconcile any confusion about who is accountable for the major functions of a business.

Call In the Accountability Chart

Using the Accountability Chart, we advise our clients to think of their role as owners to be separate and distinct from their role as employees in the business. They may enjoy working in sales, marketing, or finance, but when occupying those seats, they wear the Employee Hat. As an employee, they perform specific roles and are subject to the same reporting and performance requirements as their team.

In their role as owners, they occupy another seat called the Owner’s Box that isn’t part of the Accountability Chart. While wearing the Owner’s Hat, they have a right to receive regular financial reports and approve major hires, changes in strategy, or significant purchases. When wearing the Owner’s Hat, they should avoid impulsively crossing over into areas outside their major function to supersede the authority of other leaders.

Which Hat Are You Wearing Today?

In a healthy company, owners know that “who they are speaks loudly.” They collaborate with their team, and even take direction as an employee while working in the business. Employees in companies running on EOS can safely ask them, “Are you wearing the Owner’s Hat or the Employee Hat today?”

If you’re an owner and don’t know which hat you should be wearing, EOS can help you and your team get clarity, alignment, and agreement on where you can add the most value.

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