Managing Roles

Rule #3: Define the Work Before You Define the People

Focus on roles, not titles

We often think of our role as our job title, but roles are actually fluid and change frequently based on the needs of teams and organizations. Rethinking the relationship between roles, accountabilities, and people is an essential component in changing the way work gets done and decisions get made within and across teams.


Our roles are clear.

northeastern school district (7,300 students, 6 schools) showed how to use the rule: Define the Work Before You Define the People. After winning a large grant, the superintendent and board looked at the work that needed to be done without first naming specific people to lead the work. Through this process they discovered that the work would be best managed by internal leaders (versus hiring a new project manager). Each leader had a specific set of accountabilities and a role in the project. For more on this case study see the Roles chapter in The NEW School Rules book.


These activities will help you and your team test out new ways of managing roles

Managing Roles Workout #3A

This workout helps you build skills for Rule #3: Define the Work Before You Define the People. It helps you practice regrouping roles and accountabilities, a key element for reimagining how work happens.

New Workouts Coming Soon

We’ll be continually adding new workouts and activities. Come back to our website or sign up for our newsletter to be sure you have access to the latest and greatest NEW School Rules resources.

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Here’s what we’re reading and writing

Articles, reports, and activities related to The NEW School Rules

Reboot Our Schools

We need to reorganize our schools to mirror our day-to-day lives so formal learning is more relevant to students and the school workplace is more appealing to our teachers.

Workout #2B

This workout helps you dive deeper into Teaming Rule #2. This workout helps you practice redistributing authority to the teams and individuals closest to each decision.

Rethink Consensus

Consensus as a strategy is often overused and misused. Instead of defaulting to consensus, we need to focus on how to get clearer about roles and authority.

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