If I were asked to pick my favorite leadership word, it would not be purpose or mission although I do love these two words. It would have to be the word capacity. To me, it is a word with tremendous depth and complexity. I use it often and I am around many different leaders from many different industries who use it regularly.
When I teach the From Vision to Action Leadership Training, I point out that the dictionary definition of the word capacity has two different meanings. The first states that capacity is “the potential or suitability for holding, storing, or accommodating” something. The other definition for the word is “the facility or power to produce, perform, or deploy.” And, for me, each definition holds a clue to understanding this very interesting word.
In the first definition of the word capacity, there is a recognition that leaders who have capacity can hold, store and accommodate key information as they go about their daily or strategic work. They have the ability to zoom out to see the bigger picture and zoom in to focus on elements within a system or process to make sure it is functioning properly. In essence, capacity is a mindset of working through the intricate levels of strategic and operational thinking.
The second definition of the word capacity, for me, is all about execution. It focuses on making things happen on either a strategic or operational basis. It generates the desired outcomes, results or short term wins that have been planned out in advance.
Now, as leaders, our challenge is to help people to become better in their ability to think through technical or adaptive problems. We are to assist people in the creation of a mental framework by which all involved know what can and can not be changed or improved as they move forward through their days. Then, we are to assist them in choosing the right actions so they can be successful on an on-going basis.
This week, focus on building the capacity to plan better and to execute better. Help people think more clearly and work more clearly and you will have created a powerful flywheel at the core of your business.