There is no question that 2020 was a year of immense uncertainty and change for many businesses. The Covid pandemic forced many business owners to have to re-examine the way they did business and many are still trying to navigate what the new normal will look like. It is no wonder that many are still trying to define the exact path their business will take in the coming year.
Whether you still know the purpose of your business or if you have had to pivot drastically, we’re all struggling with placing the building blocks in the right places in the right sequence as the world opens up again. If there is one thing that most business owners have learned during this past year, it is that having the capacity to be flexible and pivot quickly is absolutely necessary to long term success. In a pandemic or not, being able to do this is one of the biggest challenges business owners and leaders face as their businesses mature and the market changes.
The secret lies in process-based capacity building. Most companies eventually face a predictable crisis of stagnation marked by drops in revenue and profit growth. Rarely is this because your business model has suddenly become outdated. Rather, it is the result of small breakdowns in one or more functional areas or overstretching of key resources. Process-based capacity building has at its core the 5Ps of business: Purpose, Process, People, Product, and Profit. The functional alignment of these five core areas synergizes maximum business success. Misalignments are occurring if you are hearing the “un’s, re’s, mis’s and dis’s” that impede growth – unreliable, unproductive, repetitive, reactive, misaligned, miscommunicated, disorganized, dissatisfied, to name a few. While you understand at some level that you must focus on fixing the problems behind these descriptors to stabilize and grow, emphasis on doing so is often lost in the business of day-to-day business.
Capacity building guides you through a process to systematically and repeatedly assess your current state. Using this systematic process allows you to build the ability to be flexible, to recognize when you need to pivot (either small or large pivots) and increases the opportunity for innovation.
- Compare that current state to your strategic goals and desired future state to identify gaps.
- Establish improvement initiatives to realign each functional area for growth and success.
- Shore up operational shortcomings.
- Ensure that your team members are working toward a unified vision with clearly defined tasks and in direct alignment with your strategic initiatives.
In short, capacity building means taking the right actions, at the right time, for the right reasons by “clicking out and back filling.” This means identifying the next best improvement initiatives to help achieve your strategic goals (clicking out) and what needs to be improved, shored up, put into place to achieve those specific improvements (back-filling). Doing this in 90-day sprints helps to minimize the risk or resource fatigue or taking on too much at once and allows a timeframe to assess success of implemented changes.
Process-based capacity building is a framework for determining what your next best steps are (in a continual series of click outs and backfills) to ultimately achieve your strategic goals. Focusing on building capacity in a process-based manner allows you to:
- Continually evaluate the degree to which you are delivering on your promises, both internally and externally.
- Recognize how well you understand and track operational strengths and weaknesses.
- See the extent to which you know your financial numbers and manage your KPIs.
- Develop and train your entire team to contribute to your vision.
- Grow your ability to stay connected as a team to your core mission.
While the last year may have forced many of us to stretch and inserted uncertainty at unprecedented levels, process-based capacity building gives you the framework for continual improvement and growth.
Resources and Tools:
Start your capacity-building efforts with Cascadia Management’s Group’s Organizational Maturity Assessment
Use Cascadia Management Group’s template Initiative Tracker (link to document) to list and keep track of your capacity building initiatives.
BUILDING CAPACITY:5 Steps to Assess, Improve and Grow Your Business
BUILDING CAPACITY:The Role of Leaders