Just thinking capacity first can have a profound impact. Of course, getting the full benefit of our Capacity First System is not easy, and building real capacity requires a lot of engagement and effort. That said, clients have reported that just changing their focus to capacity has created a meaningful improvement in as little as an afternoon.
What Quick Wins Are Possible?
Keeping things real is a large part of our approach, so let’s not overstate what can be achieved in a short period of time. The main effect is that once you become convinced that the key variable is indeed capacity, something of a paradigm shift occurs. Simply looking at what objectives are frustrating you right now through the lens of capacity constraints often has profound effects.
The Benefits of Understanding the Basics?
Unpacking what we mean by capacity is not easy in a paragraph. In very simple terms, the three capacity-related ideas that can support rapid improvement are these. First, the capacity to develop capacity, what we call metacapacity. Think of a figurative gym rat learning how to bench-press properly to increase strength. Second, capacity that engages with the world and does work that helps you win, what we call functional capacity. Imagine an athlete using the strength gains to dominate the opposition. Third, the type of capacity that looks good on paper and gets respect from peers but that is, ultimately, flaccid. This we call non-functional capacity. Imagine the gym rat that holds the single bench-press record but has no natural athletic ability and plays no competitive sport.
We find that this framework enables people to quickly begin analysing their own capacity levels and beginning to understand why they have failed to execute.
Questions to Ask Yourself to Better Execute Today
Again, recognising the need to remain reality-based, in relative terms the improvements here are modest compared to a thoughtfully designed system. Try working through these though:
- What examples of metacapacity can you identify as having?
- Think of a current objective where you feel you have well-matched functional capacity.
- What specific functional capacity would have made a difference in a previous failure to execute?
- Can you think of non-functional capacity that you have? If so, are still maintaining or building it?
- Is there a failed project that you would not have undertaken in hindsight if you’d viewed it through the lens of capacity constraints?