...of Our Capability.
A frequent topic of discussion in our leadership coaching practice in the last several months is how to manage burnout. When we explore the topic more closely, a common theme arises to the surface. It seems despite the many issues of the time (great resignation, post-pandemic uncertainty, global supply chain, etc.), leaders are still trying to achieve their original goals as if these issues simply didn’t exist.
In truth, every business, for-profit or non-profit, public or private, large or small, operates on two related and interdependent variables: Capacity and Capability. Capacity consists of the assets and inputs, both tangible and intangible, the organization has on hand or can be readily acquired. Capability consists of the collective skills, knowledge and attitudes the organization leverages to conduct their business strategy and effectively compete in their markets. All businesses must assess their competitive strategy through the lens of their executable capacity and their current capability.
One of the key tools we use with our clients to do this is the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis and Synthesis process. Ultimately, if an organization is looking to achieve 100% of their business goals, it must have both the capacity and capability to achieve that 100%. But there is the rub, many do not have the capacity and/or capability based on the major issues identified above as the most obvious ones. While leaders are acknowledging these issues exist that reduce their capacity and capability to something less than 100%, too many are slow to adapt to that reality.
Stress comes from attempting to achieve a level of performance with people, processes and tools that combined are not able to achieve the goal. Stress on people is where the burnout discussion usually stems from. Stress on processes that cannot produce the desired results amplifies the people stress. The stress on the tools not adapted to the new reality or work further amplifies that challenge to meet an unachievable goal!
Make no mistake, this is not about leaders throwing up their arms in defeat! Rather, it is a call to action to fully understand in real time what their current capacity and capabilities to execute their business strategy really is. A business at 90% capacity and 95% capability is 86% mission-ready at best, not 100%. The strategy then becomes one of leaders deciding what part of the business strategy can be accomplished with that 86% to stay competitive in their markets.
Those decisions are then effectively communicated to internal and external stakeholders in the context of what is ground truth based on the true capacity and capability of the business at that moment in time. It is far more effective than hiding the truth and keeping everyone stressing and guessing to achieve an unachievable goal. Speaking personally as consumers, we have been lied to so many times in just the past six months that it becomes harder and harder to trust them as we did before these major issues existed.
C. S. Lewis once said, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” By most estimates, many of the previously mentioned challenges and issues leaders are dealing with are with us for another six months to a year. Deciding what the business has the capacity and capability to execute well now will go a long way to creating an ending of sustainable success!
How is your business capacity and capability supporting your strategy and how do you know? If you are not sure, we can help.