Torque for Execution

Unpacking Capacity

Torque for Execution

Unpacking Capacity

by capacityfirst

When we talk about capacity at Capacity First, we are zeroing in on the group of skills, abilities and knowledge that provides the torque to get things done. It sits somewhere between your ability to set goals and the ability to structure strategic plans. The lack of capacity is the reason that so many people fail to reach set objectives despite having a great plan, enthusiasm and intelligence. Someone lacking capacity is like a Ferrari with a lawn mower engine.

There are two key types of capacity that need to be the focus of any capacity development system: Metacapacity and Functional Capacity.


Simply put, metacapacity is the capacity to create (functional) capacity. Facing facts, most of the clients that we help are intelligent, credentialed and driven men and women utterly confused by their inability to execute on objectives. In almost every case, it is the fundamental lack of metacapacity that has led them to this execution vacuum. Once we jumpstart that metacapacity engine, things begin changing almost immediately. Functional capacity production is not, at least initially, and intuitive process for many. Once metacapacity levels increase, functional capacity can be generated at will.

Functional Capacity

Capacity that has real value can do work. It is the source of torque in the execution engine. An analogy would be muscular strength or endurance for an athlete. Improving this functional capacity is heavily dependent on the type of strength and endurance required to excel in the sport the athlete competes in. The training regime of a marathon runner will differ greatly from that of a shot putter. So much do they differ in fact, if they swapped training approaches we would say that they would each be developing non-functional capacity.

Examples of Functional Capacity.

As discussed above, whether capacity is functional or non-functional depends on objectives. However, there are some core functional capacities that benefit a vast majority of people seeking to reach objectives.

  • A solid understanding of why and how people (like you) reach irrational conclusions.
  • Maximising cognitive processes like focus, concentration and memory.
  • Quickly identifying the highest impact task (HIT) that needs to be done next.
  • Conquering personal latent biases and avoidance behaviours.
  • Understanding and respecting execution throughput and bandwidth limitations.