How to Lift Your People’s Capability – The Ultimate Force Multiplier

If you’d prefer to watch on video than read, just click here – 5 mins with captions.

“I need lift the capability in my team so I can do more future-focussed work”.  It’s in the Top 3 things I’m going to hear whenever I have a chat to a manager at any level, and it’s a good idea. 

What’s rarely covered is how to actually do it.  That’s what we’re going to sort now.

Coming to Grips

Ever thought of yourself as a production line?  It’s easy to do in manufacturing, might look like this:

Read more…

A Talk – Designing for Quality Leadership

Adam ACSA May 2017

Something different this time around – a talk!  I spoke recently at the Leadership, Culture and Governance Symposium put on by Aged & Community Services Australia in Adelaide.

The topic – Designing for Quality Leadership   The point?  Leadership depends as much on your organisational design as it does the people in the jobs, so….stop fidgeting and start building something! 

Click here to watch.  Goes for about 40 minutes, and sorry about the hissing at the start – that blissfully goes away at 4:15.

It’s the stuff we teach in detail in our workshops and our online learning so you can design departments and enterprises where people can do great work.

And…if you’d like to see what was on the screen, or want the super-quick version,  click here to see the slides.  I’ve written short explanations on many of them so they make sense even without the presentation itself.

Feel free to download and distribute the slides to those who might be interested if you think it might help create a conversation that makes your place better.

Thanks to Derek Dittrich from ACSA and Tim Levett for the video production.

As always, if there is anything I can help with, just let me know.


How to take the confusion out of your people’s career development

Crowd cheering

There is a simple way to sort out the career development of your own direct reports – stop doing it!

Asking a manager to take accountability for both the output and behaviour of their people as well as considering their future aspirations is asking a lot.   But….people knowing that the organisation has someone concerned with their future beyond their current role (even if it means not leaving the current role)  is a key part of creating the trust that ultimately sees people being willing to provide their full commitment.

So who is that someone?  We use the Manager-once-Removed, put forward by Elliott Jaques in a number of his works.   The Manager-once-Removed, or MoR is your boss’s boss.  Your skip-level manager.  We make each MoR accountable for building the pool of talent that sits below their own people,  that is their skip-level reports.   Read more…

How to increase your capability

I had some questions from my last post on cognitive capability on how to increase it.  Here’s the answer:

Don’t smoke.  The is the single most important thing you can do to increase your capability.

The second is 30 minutes of movement per day.

The third is healthy diet.

Not what you expected?   The thing is, the only way you can increase your cognitive capability is to not die.  This is because while your cognitive capability will unfold at it’s own rate, that rate has been shown by research to be predictable over time. Read more…

See the whole board

Some people just get it.  When faced with decisions they seem to see what others can’t.   One second before they gave their view, you were floundering, not sure which way to go.  Now it seems so obvious it’s almost embarrassing.

We know this ability when we see it.  Here’s a 3-minute clip so you can see an example for yourself (link here if you can’t see anything):

At 2:20 Sam Seaborn says “I don’t know the word”, as he’s trying to work out how President Bartlet pieces it all together.

Well….there is a word.  Two words.  It’s called cognitive capability, Read more…

The five factors of individual performance (it’s not personality)


I think out of the box, I'm a type J.A.C.K

Managers in Australia love to try to ‘get into the mind’ of their people.  Robert Spillane’s book The Rise of Psycho Management in Australia‘ contains an excellent analysis of how this came about, and the effects that it has had.  One fact that might be startling to some is that the empirical evidence shows that the amount of performance difference that is due to personality is 4%.

Yep, 4%.  In other words, 96% of the variation in performance is due to something other than personality type.

So what are the factors that determine performance?  I like to use the model put forward by Elliott Jaques, if you want to go to the source, track down either Executive Leadership which he wrote with Stephen Clement, or Requisite Organization.

Here are his factors:

Cognitive Capability: does the person have the ability to handle the amount of variables, options and choices the role requires.  This Read more…