Functional capacity is key to optimal execution. It is not subject knowledge or technical awareness of the objective. It is the engine room, the source of real torque. A deficit here can be camouflaged by significant understanding of what should happen, but it almost always is responsible for the reality of it not happening.
To help our clients understand we sometimes compare functional capacity with the simple idea of muscular strength. For a shot putter, a particularly explosive form of strength is required. He or she must understand the rules of the event and have great technique. However, without the functional capacity (muscular strength) to impart energy into the shot, then not much else really matters. Technique operates at the margins. Strength is where the action is.
The Vortex of Non-functional Capacity
Another block to execution is capacity that is non-functional. One of the greatest issues we come across is identifying legitimate capacity held by clients that does no work in the effort to meet specific objectives. Worse, because the client is confident in their (non-functional) capacity they try and utilise it in situations that it has no purchase. As the old saying goes, if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem you face looks like a nail. The world champion marathon runner has event-specific capacity, but none of it makes him competitive in the shot put.
Examples of Poor Functional Capacity
Having sufficient functional capacity to provide the torque for your execution engine is critical. The following deficits are common amongst clients who struggle to reach objectives.
- Lacking a solid understanding of why and how people (like you) reach irrational conclusions.
- Poor cognitive processes like focus, concentration and memory.
- Inability to identify the highest impact task (HIT) that needs to be done next.
- Not being aware of personal latent biases and avoidance behaviours.
- Not understanding and respecting execution throughput and bandwidth limitations.