Organizational VS. Accountability Charts

By : Don Tyler


Many businesses have organizational charts that provide a clear structural map of all the employees in the business. They start at the top with the leadership, work their way down through middle management, and the lower levels or the chart are the production employees under each supervisor.

We use organizational charts to help everyone in the business see where they fit in the big picture. Names and titles are listed and typically organized in a vertical and horizontal structure to show the hierarchy of the business. Employees know who they report to and the ‘go-to’ person for each area of the business.

In recent years feedlots and other agricultural production businesses have been required to add many essential tasks. Today’s employees may need to report lagoon levels, ingredient inventories, pharmaceutical usage, employee documentation and other crucial information that may be needed to meet compliance regulations. Even if there is no compliance element to the tasks, the level of detail needed to ensure maximum production and the ramifications of not following proven protocols can mean the difference between profit and loss.

Organizational charts are not detailed enough to ensure the level of accountability needed for these activities and responsibilities. For this reason, we’ve been working on adding accountability charts to our overall business structure. Where organizational charts typically have a person’s name in only one place, an accountability chart may have an individual’s name in multiple locations due to the different duties they are ultimately accountable to complete.

Accountability Chart Structure

At first glance, an accountability chart may look very similar to an organizational chart with boxes for each area and a similar horizontal/vertical arrangement. Zooming in on the accountability chart reveals that there are many more boxes, and the boxes contain specific tasks and responsibilities along with the name of the accountable individual. For instance, where the organizational chart may have upper level categories of ‘Manager,’ ‘Supervisor,’ and ‘Department Head,’ the accountability chart will have ‘Production,’ ‘Animal Health,’ ‘Finances,’ ‘Maintenance,’ Administrative,’ ‘Environmental Compliance’ and other key duties.

Zooming in even further shows that the boxes below each area are very specific. For instance, the Animal Health duty may include categories such as, ‘Drug Inventory Reconciliation,’ ‘Vaccine Orders,’ ‘Mortality Records and Analysis,’ ‘Vet Communications,’ etc. Under Environmental Compliance there may be tasks such as, ‘Monthly Lagoon Records,’ ‘EPA Compliance Updates,’ ‘Neighbor Relations,’ ‘Manure Application Records,’ etc.

These charts must be this granular to ensure that if there is a crucial activity in the operation, there is a specific person ultimately accountable to ensure it is completed within expectations. Everyone knows which employee bears each responsibility.

Where Do I Start?

The best approach is to list the key areas of the business and the individual responsible for each area. From there, have those key people develop their list of essential duties for their area, and any other duties that they feel are essential to the operation that may be overlooked, or fall between areas. Key people can solicit the help of their employees by asking them what their duties are and summarizing that list in their area of the accountability chart.

To finalize the chart, leadership can meet to review each area, clarify any uncertainties, and create the posted version of the chart.


Here are the benefits realized by developing and implementing accountability charts:

-Developing the accountability chart reveals every crucial duty in the business and enhances every person’s understanding of their essential activities.

-The accountability chart ensures that everyone knows who is responsible for each area, increasing the overall level of accountability in the operation.

-In businesses with family members that are employees, everyone in the family knows who must do certain tasks, and whether or not they have been completed. This relieves the family leaders of being the ‘sheriff’ in situations when a brother, son, nephew, daughter, niece, uncle, etc. have not met the agreed-upon expectations. Consequences are much easier to deliver and the entire operation benefits from the detailed activity list.

Don Tyler is founder of Tyler & Associates Management Coaching. For additional assistance in your employee management and family business challenges, Don can be reached at, by calling 765-490-0353, or through his website at

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