The following is an excerpt from Capacity: Create Laser Focus, Boundless Energy, and an Unstoppable Drive in Any Organization by Chris Johnson and Matt Johnson.
The organizational landscape has undergone tectonic shifts in the last 15 years. Despite our exponentially greater connectivity and perceived collaboration, productivity and employee development have remained stagnant. Nearly every organization invests considerable resources toward improvement initiatives. They all want to scale up for growth by improving their workforce. But in the past two years, only 8 percent of business initiatives met all expectations, with $70.6 billion allocated in 2016 alone, up nearly 35 percent since 2013.
Throwing more money at problem isn’t the solution.
What the data tells us is managers and leaders are not being developed the right way. Schedule as many meetings and create as much content as you want—the symptoms of an ailing organizational will still persist.
Organizations need to stop and ask a few critical questions: What is the source of the problem? What are the problems and challenges? If you ask better questions you tend to get better answers. How will your organization need to develop and adapt for the future?
Imagine a 16.9-oucne water bottle filled to the brim (this represents demand). Water is the fuel of life and a perfect representation of the fluid demands of a full life—family, friends, creativity, new ideas, sales projection, meetings, deadlines, hobbies, health, joy, and even happiness. Now the objective is to pour this water bottle into a glass that has the capacity of 15 ounces (your capacity). What will the result be?
Most of us will pour as much as we can into our glass hoping the really important stuff doesn’t spill over. We might even try to wait for the water in the glass to evaporate so we can squeeze in the last 1.9 ounces. But who are we kidding? You can’t just turn off the demands of a full life.
We repeatedly witness this mentality across the organizational spectrum. Most attempt to manage this by adding more layers of information from the top down: “We need more sales training. We need more leadership training. We need better management processes. Our workflow needs streamlining. Let’s send out another e-mail explaining the system again. Just keep giving more information!”
What if we all paused and accepted the inconvenient truth: Our people are drowning from the increasing demands. There’s tremendous value in prioritizing tasks to work more efficiently, but as you will see shortly, it doesn’t address the source of the problem. Having helped hundreds of organizations optimize performance and productivity, we know that asking people to wear more hats and juggle too many tasks usually leads to sloppy work and burned-out employees, If you figure out which hat fits them best and increase their capacity to handle whatever is thrown at them, they will thrive under pressure.
Today the best organizations understand the importance of collaboration. The marketing team needs to meet with research and development to start thinking about how to position upcoming products in the marketplace. Accounting needs to collaborate with facilities managers to anticipate any upcoming capital projects. Your training and development should be built on the foundation of peak performance. You want your associates, executives, and sales teams to be all they can be. But they can’t maximize their potential if you don’t’ teach them how to manage their stress and wake up energized and alert.
We know an organization is simply people with a purpose. What drives us is the desire to teach people how to be their best selves so they can do great things together. An organization is only as strong and successful as the health of its people. It builds their capacity for optimal performance and overachievement.
About the authors:
Matt Johnson is an internationally recognized expert in expanding human capacity. He helps organizations and individuals boost performance, achieve more with less, and drive engagement using his proven, science-based method. He is also the co-author of the groundbreaking book Capacity, which sets the new standard for organizational performance.
Chris Johnson is the bestselling author of On Target Living and co-author of Capacity. Chris has spent over 30 years researching and building optimal health and performance programs for individuals and corporations. As a leading authority on small steps to healthy living, he has presented on thousands of stages in the US and internationally.