The secret of creating capacity

shutterstock_262077017“Don’t tell us we need to change. We can’t: we are already working beyond our capacity.”

“I don’t even have time to think about whether I shouldn’t be doing this.”

“I will think about doing that when I get the chance.”

There should be a fundamental difference between a group of a hundred individuals and a well-functioning organisation of the same size. Yet when individuals are working at their capacity, a hundred people can look like nothing more than… a hundred people. Organisational capacity is created by good working relationships and the fluid connections they make.

When an individual is working at full capacity, any curve ball, any change request or in fact anything extra, will be treated as a distraction. Even an offer to take some of their workload requires a decision, a hand-over and co-ordination. Adding more people requires all of the above, plus some time carved out for training and orientation. So at full capacity it is unsurprising that individuals become bound in to a pattern of doing things that someone else could probably do better.

Effective, efficient organisations realise that investment in relational connections is fundamental to building organisational capacity. Relationships release the right people to do the right things at the right time. Stop and think about that: without the right relationships, it is likely that the person, activity or timing will be wrong. Inefficiency and reduction in output follow.

In order to make change happen, capacity must be used to build relationships and maintain them. Thus, ironically, in order to be in a position to increase the overall volume of work, it is necessary to be working at less than full capacity. If your organisation is already at full capacity, it becomes extremely difficult to create the relational space necessary for change.

Once an organisation has the space to change it will need to recognise the specific issues with their current relationships, address them and manage ongoing improvements to the way they relate. If relational issues are not addressed, inefficiency in engagement and connection will unnecessarily absorb an organisation’s precious capacity.

When someone in your organisation is failing to deliver (or your whole organisation is failing to deliver) it may well be that you have a capacity problem. In that case, improving working relationships is a great place to start in bringing the availability and capability necessary to increase capacity.