Engineering, Construction and Industrial Industries

Establishing Demanded Capabilities

June 25, 2014

Ask your team this question: "What specific new or improved demands of capability of my organization and/or others, including skills of people, tools, technology, role, work processes, business partners, cultural traits, do we have to have in place in order to insure that the Strategic Agenda is accomplished?"

Demanded Capabilities

The important key here is to be specific and include measurable descriptors, if known. Keep your lists to no more than eight demands of capability.

Do not include any Demanded Capability statements in which you are recognized as "operationally good and proficient at" unless "good is not good enough" or even "very good is not very good enough." This is often the case.

By way of example, many talk a great game about cost predictability, but few fully understand the critical importance in maximizing the market (shareholder) value of a company.

Very tight cost predictability is singularly, and without a doubt, the most important non-safety related metric in project delivery yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Cost predictability drives the market value of a private sector corporation because it drives the free cash flow numbers, ultimately a linear component of the current total marketable value of the company.

This first step, and in fact this whole process, is all about new or improved capabilities and has little to do with current business operations where we are currently performing well.

As a frame of reference, understand the long term view as it relates to improvements strategy. In order to maintain sanity, fully understand what this diagram is relating.

Strategic Change Model Sample

Once the Demanded Capabilities listing has been established the next step in the process is to force rank their importance. If there are eight items then it is suggested that you force rank from 8, being the highest in importance, to 1, being the least important. Force ranking can be very thought provoking and controversial. By way of example "How do you force rank Beyond Zero capability?" One might ordinarily rank that one at the top and it could be considered political suicide not to do so. That’s not the point! Again we might be doing very well with respect to safety performance, still hurting people but improving.

A couple of suggestions to expedite the Force Ranking process are:

1.) Ask the question: "If I could only do one new thing that would make my organization more successful which one would it be?"

2.) Give each participant and, in this specific case, eight votes (dots) that they can place on any item, with no more than two votes on any one item. Let them vote in privacy one by one by turning the flip chart away from the group and use of the same color dots.

The point of force ranking is to establish the prioritization of the leaning down of potential solutions and is not a statement reinforcing or perceived loosening of our commitment to safety. It is about forcing new capabilities into the operations as a matter of priority (forced ranking), to meet the strategic agenda.


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