The key to successful capacity building lies in knowing where the organization needs to be in the future. At the same time, it is equally important that we know the current state of our business. Continually assessing our capacity shows us our business’s strengths, weaknesses, and improvement opportunities. The process of building continual capacity ensures that the journey going forward will lead your business toward a future state delivering on your promises and continually adding value to our stakeholders, improving internal processes, motivating employees, and keeping your bottom line strong.
1. Conduct a capacity audit
This capacity audit will address the five functional areas of your business to establish a baseline or current state capacity. Do a thorough review of your historical documents (your marketing, your strategic plan, your job descriptions, etc.), review processes and procedures, and gather key perspectives from stakeholders and team members, keeping the following questions in mind:
- Are your development goals properly aligned with your mission, values, and organizational structure? (Purpose)
- How are you enhancing customer relationships, continuously adding value to product and services, and tightly managing your pricing and sales strategies? (Product)
- Do you find ways to continuously improve operations, become more efficient and productive? (Process)
- Are you maximizing performance and increasing your employees’ potential? (People)
- Are you ensuring strong financial management and profitability to support goals? (Profit)
2. Determine capacity needs to accomplish your strategic goals and initiatives.
In your review, identify areas where resources are needed and where there is capacity. Look at both internal and external resources and evaluate how you are utilizing each. For example, how are you using association memberships like the Chamber of Commerce, the BBB and others? Are you leveraging the resources these organizations provide to meet some of your identified needs?
3. Compare your strategic goals and your current state to identify gaps.
Through the review of your processes and gathering key perspectives, you will be able to identify where there are improvements to be made. In what areas and in what sequence will improvements need to be made to successfully complete the year’s strategic goals and initiatives?
4. Establish improvement initiatives.
Define your improvements across each functional area. Describe each, assign primary and secondary responsibility, define your measurement of achievement, and develop a system to track and celebrate progress to maximize engagement and accountability while monitoring the expense for the capacity building improvements and its ROI.
5. Create 30-60-90-day plans to build capacity.
Help your team sequence the work by breaking the improvements into manageable chunks of work. What needs to get done first, in the first 30 days? What follows, or is not high priority, that can be done in the first 60 days? And what can wait for a 90-day deadline? This process can be used again and again to help track progress, to keep the team accountable, and to ensure the improvement initiative is ultimately completed. An initiative may only take one 30-60-90 cycle, or it may take more than one, depending on the amount and complexity of work involved with each initiative.
Your organization’s ability to build capacity allows you to identify and stop the obstacles and challenges that are getting in the way of your progress and success. It also helps your organization maximize your strengths to help you achieve your goals. Starting a continual cycle of capacity building allows you to tackle improvements by inches instead of being overwhelmed by them.
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:Why It Matters Now More Than Ever
BUILDING CAPACITY:The Role of Leaders