In a bee colony, queen bees have one job — to lay eggs. When a queen bee dies, the colony’s highly efficient system breaks down, and all 100,000 bees are in temporary disarray.
To ensure their colony thrives, queen bees focus on their one role of laying eggs. This is called a Queen Bee Role (QBR), and it also applies to the success of a company.
A Queen Bee Role (or King Bee Role) is a term for the function that your individual success and a company’s collective success depend on. As an employee, you own this role. You own the outcomes of this role. You own the decisions of this role.
If you don’t take ownership of your QBR, companies become inefficient, overworked, and burned out. Even worse, processes break down, you need a lot of unnecessary meetings, employees become poor performers, and companies fail.
This idea comes from the book Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself by Michael Michalowicz. His goal is to help small business owners who tend to work themselves to death trying to serve clients and run a company — roles that should eventually become mutually exclusive as the company grows. But I think this is good wisdom for all leaders.
Here’s a look at QBRs at CareContent — and how you can identify your own.
Queen Bee Roles apply to entire organizations and the individuals within them.
CareContent Queen Bee Roles
At CareContent, our company QBR is to produce spot-on first drafts of all deliverables that:
- Are on deadline, not wordy, and accessible
- Are error and oversight-free
- Do not contain functionality flaws
- Provide an excellent user experience
- Achieve the client’s desired results
At the individual role, CareContent employee QBRs include:
- CEO: Plan the company’s short and long-term future.
- VP, Client Strategy: Create digital strategies to help clients and CareContent grow.
- Multimedia Designer: Create and execute aesthetic direction for client projects to match business goals.
- Content Director: Get spot-on first drafts across the finish line.
- Content Specialist: Produce solid first drafts that meet client and audience needs.
- Project Manager: Ensure client, web development, and internal team are all on point with tasks and deadlines.
What Is Your Queen Bee Role?
Determining your QBR requires identifying your number one priority— that one function you must do well if everyone else around you is to do well.
For instance, a hospital CEO plans, directs, and coordinates day-to-day operations at the highest level of management. A healthcare marketing manager implements marketing strategies and campaigns, analyzes data, and oversees relationships with the media and the wider community.
In each position, the long-term success of both their career and the organization depends on these responsibilities being done successfully.
Once you’ve determined your QBR, get it in writing. Craft a statement that pinpoints the one task that is your responsibility to complete efficiently. Each position should know their QBR as well as those of other employees.
The Role Of Distractions
If you’re constantly required to complete tasks outside of your QBR, that’s a problem. Distractions can be anything from unnecessary meetings to endless emails to anything else that’s not in your wheelhouse.
Identify your distractions, then communicate with your team to avoid them. As a company, you must learn to respect other QBRs and also protect your own.