Last updated: March 9

Reduce executive role ambiguity (with checklist) 

Reduce role ambiguity and watch profits soar with a simple but powerful management tool with little cost but your time (no subscriptions or software required).

To attract the very best leaders, recruitment must begin with a crystal-clear objective accompanied by a detailed job description. Start with company values.

What continues to perplex me is when our private executive clients are repeatedly chased by a recruiter for very senior-level roles. There is a flurry of conversations with the recruiter, the CEO, and sometimes a member of the board. And then? Radio silence.

Your employer brand will be negatively impacted by this type of on-again, off-again communication with candidates. If you need to go to the street for key roles, ensure your marketing collateral is high quality.

Did you know 86% of HR professionals surveyed indicated recruitment is becoming akin to traditional marketing and 75% of active job seekers are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand (Glassdoor, 2021)?

A woman happily applying for a job
Sample of Westgate job description checklist

Attract high-performing leaders with a simple, but critical, tool

Job descriptions form a critical part of your employer brand. Ignore them at your peril.

Job descriptions are used for many reasons (see image below) and one critically important reason is for job postings to attract the very best resource to your company.

The job posting is a conversation you have with strangers and so the value proposition needs to be clear, compelling, and action-based. With the globalization of talent, your ability to attract the best candidate rests initially with the “lowly” job description. That’s a lot of heavy lifting for this pedestrian apparatus and it often doesn’t fulfill its mission. After all, when was the last time you sat down to read a job posting for its intrinsic value?

Job Discription Important to Know (Westgate)

Have you ever read a well-written job description (or posting)? I’ve read many job descriptions over the years, and I continue to be underwhelmed. When you consider that human capital is considered to be the most important asset in the company, next to its customer list, the lack of effort that is invested in this critical activity surprises me—attracting the best talent to your organization is one of the most important investments an organization can make.

Several weeks ago, we were introduced to one of the best job descriptions I’ve read (see below for the fictionalized and anonymized version). Note the use of emotive language focusing on soft skills, such as authenticity, high character, and empathy. You may be surprised (as I was) that this job description was prepared by a global industrial technology company.


JOB DESCRIPTION – Chairman of the Board of Directors

Man on the Moon Inc. (the Corporation), is recruiting a Chairman of the Board of Directors which oversees six divisions with an annual budget of $55 million and 1200+ employees across the United States and Canada. The organization is headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey.

About Man on the Moon Inc.

Man on the Moon Inc. is an industry-leading information technology services and solutions provider to members of Fortune 1000 companies, governments, and educational institutions. By leveraging its extensive OEM partnerships and its fulfillment, professional, deployment, workforce, and managed services, the Corporation delivers the IT infrastructure needs of its clients. For more information, visit manonthemoonwg.com

The role of the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Corporation is to lead the Board to supervise the management of the business affairs of the Corporation. The Corporation is committed to high standards of corporate governance to assist the Board to manage the business and affairs of the Corporation. The Board oversees the functioning of the Corporation’s governance ecosystem utilizing the Governance and Nominating Committee, Compensation Committee, and Audit Committees.

Position Summary

Although currently the Board is comprised of nine Directors, which is considered an appropriate number for effective decision making and committee work, the Board is authorized by shareholders to increase its number to eleven members.

Chairman of the Board Job Description Image

The Chairman of the Board Responsibilities

The Chairman of the Board is accountable for the development, management, and performance of the Directors of the Board and for leading Directors to carry out their mandates for supervising the performance and management of the business of the Corporation.

Strategy Development

  • Work closely with the Compensation, Corporate Governance, and Nominating Committee to develop criteria for CEO and director succession planning and recruitment.
  • Collaborate closely with the CEO to ensure effective relations with external stakeholders, including (and not limited to) investors, shareholders, the media, the public, industry regulators, customers, and supply chain partners.

People Development

  • Actively participate in and supervise the annual evaluation of the performance of the CEO, the Board, Committees, Committee Chairs, and Board Directors.
  • Maintain an effective relationship between the Board and Management of the Corporation.

Execution Excellence

  • Ensure procedures are in place to permit the Board to work effectively, efficiently, and to function independently of the management of the corporation.
  • Guarantee the responsibilities of Directors are executed in compliance with the mandate. Those functions of the Board delegated to Committees are executed by the Committees assigned and are reported to the Board.
  • Chair Board meetings, including acquiring appropriate briefing materials to be delivered to the Board in a timely fashion. The Chair will stimulate active debate, provide adequate time to discuss issues, facilitate consensus, encourage full participation and discussion by individual Directors, and ensure that clarity regarding decisions is reached, recorded, and executed.
  • Chair meetings of the Corporation’s shareholders.
  • Ensure that accountabilities are delegated to appropriate Committees and that those accountabilities are executed, and results of the work are reported to and recorded for the Board of Directors.
  • Execute other duties as requested by Directors as circumstances arise.
  • Deliver the required resources to support the Board and Committee work with timely and relevant information.

Inspire (Purpose & Direction)

  • Build trust - Strive for authenticity, high character, and empathy. Model Man on the Moon values such as respect, integrity, humility, and honesty. Be consistent in behavior, results, and improvement. Share the logic behind decisions and lead through influence.
  • Increase self and system awareness - Make a constant effort to listen and understand the impact you have on others. Actively and regularly self-reflect on how one’s mindset drives behavior, which leads to results.
  • Provide direction and advice to management, including identifying major issues, ensuring accountability to stakeholders, and building positive relationships.
  • Ensure Compliance with the Corporation’s governance policies, including those relative to the cadence and conduct of Board meetings, managing and reporting information, and other policies and procedures relating to the Board’s mandate.
  • Lead the Board in a manner that ensures the Board functions as a cohesive team with transparent and clear communications.

Engage

  • Assure the mandate and responsibilities of the Board are understood by Directors and management and boundaries between the Board’s and Management’s responsibilities are clearly understood.
  • Require the Board to meet as often as is required for the Directors to carry out their duties and responsibilities effectively.
  • Coordinate an ongoing calendar of meetings with the CEO for the Board and Committees in consultation with all Directors and senior management to ensure a consistent agenda for the Board.
  • Model and foster diversity, equity, and inclusion - Identify and understand your own bias and how that impacts others. Seek out, value, and encourage diverse viewpoints, thought, and perspectives. Strive to help others feel included. Treat others as equals and support equitable policies and practices.
Words on the sidewalk express passion led us here

Credentials and Requirements

  • Legal & Compliance
  • Risk Management & Audit
  • International Business
  • Tax Knowledge
  • Share Valuation and Share Price, Share Acquisition/Purchase, Transfer and Repatriation.
  • Annual Business Plans and Budgets
  • Negotiate contractual obligations that arise
  • M&A & IPO experience
  • Major changes to annual plan or budget or capital acquisitions
  • Executive Compensation

Information to Review:

The following links are recommended in order to better your understanding of Man on the Moon Inc.

Our annual report (link)

Man on the Moon Inc. in the news (link)


Videos to Review:

Our values (link)

A message from our founder (link)

Term of Appointment

The Chair of the Board is appointed for a three-year term. If reappointed, a director may serve for a maximum of six consecutive years.

Please submit your PDF resume to Marcus Ploth at info@ManonthemoonWR.com.


Job descriptions that stand out

Consider incorporating visual elements to the job description to attract the various learning styles of candidates. A picture is worth a thousand words and will help your organization stand out in an ocean of other companies who are trying to attract a limited human resource pool.

Take it a step further and hire a copywriter(s) to write your job ads. You will be astounded at the impact a skilled copywriter can have on your product. Sometimes when you work so closely with content within a company, it can be difficult to write something that both informs an external candidate, while also effectively adding excitement, meaning, and purpose.

We’ve taken the job description and added a visual component to it. Do you notice the unique feel the document has? Does it draw in your eye and anchor your attention? It clearly stands out among its competitors—in this global labor market.

Example of job description with images
Happy applicant applying for a job they like

A personal note from the team

Maddison Shears | Digital Marketing Specialist

Maddison Shears

In previous job searches, I have spent a lot of time surveying the labor market. This involves due diligence and research on job descriptions and the companies that correlate with those job descriptions. It can be a lengthy task, but it is the most important first step in a job search (following a developed crystal-clear path on what I want to do next).

Similar to a recruiter or hiring manager spending little time on obvious duds in the CV pile, if there are any large question marks following a job description review, I will pass over it in seconds. If they aren’t clear on what they want and what they need, I’m not interested in spending any of my time helping them figure it out. I know what solution I can be for what problem, and I expect my future employer to have the same clarity.

On a slightly different note, I want to also express my admiration for a certain section in the job description that I believe every company needs to be prioritizing—company culture. Yes, I do want to know what my role and responsibilities are first and foremost. But I also recognize that I will be spending 35-40 (likely more) hours of my weekly 168 within a community that I’m only just getting to know. So please, tell me about yourself!

What can someone expect from your work environment? What do you do to provide a space that feels safe and inclusive? Why should someone want to choose your company over another one with a similar role description and list of responsibilities?

Again, if this isn’t included, I’ll skip it. And possibly more important than that, I won’t recommend it to another job seeker.

Assume that people take this very seriously. They will do their research and they will make sure that the company they are pursuing is in line with their values and experiences. So be clear!

Role ambiguity leads to loss of productivity

A lot of the clients we have worked with often approach us with the same problem in a different suit: Lack of clarity. It’s the culprit for stress, anxiety, and lack of motivation.

In a new role, uncertainty is the last emotion an employee should feel. Role ambiguity leads to a loss in productivity, a decline in employee engagement, and in worst cases, a loss of trust. To mitigate role ambiguity is to effectively mitigate potential conflict and advocate for a healthy workplace culture.

A question mark indicating confusion

Employees who experience role clarity are 53% more efficient and 27% more effective at work than employees who have role ambiguity. Our research shows that overall work performance increases by 25% (Effectory, 2019).

“Organizations are increasingly hiring people into novel positions, but often struggle to support these new roles. These new roles do not come with a blueprint, nor can they be copied from other organizations. They have to be built from scratch. Too much structure will stifle creativity and innovation. Too much freedom will lead to ambiguity and chaos.

If new roles are structured too loosely or too tightly, they are unable to provide the best outcomes for their functions” (HBR: How to ensure the success of a position your company hasn’t had before, 2018).

This is why job descriptions are SO important. They become the blueprint for a role and should be crystal clear about what the responsibilities and expectations are. Hitting the JD out of the park will eliminate the chaotic domino effect of role ambiguity.

If your board director, CEO, or other employee is unsure of whether a new responsibility is part of their role, they can turn to the job description to facilitate a constructive conversation with their, Team Lead, Chair or Lead Director.  

Having clarity in a role leads to enthusiasm and motivation and it helps set a person up for success, regardless of their personality or behavioral style. This has a direct impact on your employer brand and therefore, the bottom line.

Who benefits from a strategic job description? Your shareholders, employees, and customers will benefit through improved employee engagement, employee retention, and earnings per share.

Download our job description playbook with an execution checklist and share it with your team.

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About executive resume writing author 

Westgate - Maureen Farmer

Maureen Farmer is the Founder & CEO of Westgate Executive Branding & Career Consulting Inc., an international personal branding and career consulting firm delivering premier executive branding and career consulting services for high-profile leaders. Author of The CEO Script Vault: Job Search Scripts for Busy Executives, Maureen believes that when we’re doing work aligned with our values, everyone wins. Using the law of attraction to identify quality employers utilizing the hidden job market is a cornerstone of her career management strategy.

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