Most organizations create a system whereby IP tasks are created, assigned, monitored and enforced. IP responsibility is vague and it needs to be deduced into number of tasks of definite nature. Sometimes IP tasks do not adequately cover an underlying IP responsibility whereas in other cases IP responsibilities go unrecognized. So one check point is to confirm if responsibility to task conversion is done appropriately. Unless this conversion is perfect, no responsibility is truly assigned.
Organizations need to be continually mindful that tasks are assigned to fulfil a responsibility and hence tasks on their own may not sufficiently meet the burden of responsibility. So keep asking “why do I do (responsibility) what I do(task)” to understand underlying responsibility. For example if you are told to attend all IP meetings (a recurring task), your responsibility might be to take part in IP decision making.
When IP responsibilities are not assigned, it may result in visible harm like missing IP deadlines or generating IP risks or invisible harms such as flaws in IP processes which might be graver.
Reasons why IP responsibility may be left unassigned:
1. Failure to recognize an IP responsibility
2. Failure to delegate
3. Overlapping responsibilities that confuse who will actually act
The underlying reasons behind these are many faceted relating to both individual and organizational awareness, motivation, and capabilities. Even when responsibility is being recognized and fulfilled, ensuring that it is further translated into a step towards achieving organizational goals is important.
When a failure to assign responsibility occurs it is important to address both the individual case and any underlying issue that may otherwise cause the failure to happen again.
(This is number 40 in our list of IP mistakes and how to avoid them.)
Image credit: Courtney Dirk