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As a matter of fact.

It is a fact that spending time can be a battle. If you have a lot of time on our hands you could be less effective, but as you have too little you have to become more resourceful to use it wisely. In the business world to streamline efforts, various techniques are introduced to clarify responsibilities ensuring optimization of both time and resources. An example, there is a new HR IT system being introduced across 15 different countries. A project to design, customize, and implement is approved by the board and mandated to the HR management team to implement. As one of his first activities, the project manager needs to understand his or her sponsors, stakeholders, and users. One method to map all people involved is to use a RACI matrix. Yes, acronyms are beloved and often start living a life of its own without people knowing the deeper meaning. What is a RACI matrix? I am convinced it is an English lesson in itself. Let me explain.

The 'R' is standing for Responsible, 'A' for Accountable, 'C' for Consulting, 'I' for Informed. So who is responsible and who is accountable? The dictionary states that the adjective accountable's synonym is answerable, however responsible requires a more complex description. Responsible is explained as liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive, or agent. Accountable is even suggested as a synonym for responsible, leading to even more confusion.

If you are accountable you also can be responsible, but if you are responsible you are not necessarily accountable. Wow, are you still with me!

In clearer terms, if you are accountable you will be asked to approve critical actions, the functions tagged as responsible are referred to as the "doers" the executors. Going back to the HR project described earlier. The HR Director is accountable and responsible, i.e. the director will be challenged by and needs to answer to the Board for the success of the project as well as being an approver. The board as a key sponsor of the HR project will need to be informed on progress and consulted if critical decisions regarding budget and system are to be made. In-country resource specialists are consulted as experts of matter, some may have also responsibilities for certain tasks and the largest user-groups, i.e. all employees should be informed as a minimum. The verbs consult and inform are easier to follow, respectively to ask for advice and to communicate knowledge. No real hidden difficulties here. In conclusion, it is a matter of fact that we use methods to manage our time intelligently, but they are only truly effective if all interested parties have the same understanding. Food for thought. Marleen #English #EnglishforBusiness #Englishteacher

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