Skills and capabilities

Capabilities clearly enable performance – if your organization can do key tasks, faster, cheaper or better than others, then you will develop stronger resources in a more powerful system than they can. But academic strategy articles on the topic are mostly too abstract to connect with the practical appraisal of skills and capabilities in organizations. So it’s good to see a down-to-earth approach to assessing skills from McKinsey – asking people to evaluate their own needs. But there’s more to a team’s or organization’s capabilities than just the sum of individuals’ skills, so could the same approach work for self-assessment of team capabilities?

If such capabilities consist of individual skills + availability of required information +  existence of effective processes to get the team’s tasks done, then knowing about individuals’ skills alone may not be enough.

A team might, for example, know that a certain activity takes too long, costs too much or is not done well enough, and also know that the reason for the specific problem is not under-skilled people, but limited or too-slow access to information or laborious processes that obstruct even experienced staff. 

(For more, see extract from chapter 10 of my book).

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