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Monday
May232011

Back to Basics #3 - the right skills for your business

by Darren Shirlaw

You can download this article as a pdf [374kb] by clicking here.

Series 1. Building the growth platform
Article 3. The right skills

This article forms part of our back to basics campaign, with two series of articles, 'building the growth platform' and 'creating growth in a flat market'.

Businesses must build a strong platform over the next few years in preparation for economic growth. Essentially this means having the right number of people doing the right jobs with the right level of skills. This article is third in the series and covers the right skills. Having people with the right skills is what we call 'capability' in an organisation. By this we mean the 'capability' of your business to deliver its plan.

You might have the right number of people, doing the right jobs, but if they don't have the skills to do those jobs, they'll do them inefficiently - impacting the entire organisation. Spending cuts on staff training, development, and often reduction of staff are typical features of a recession. These are difficult decisions.

Those retained might have seniority or loyalty. Or, perhaps, an organisation will choose to retain those who are younger with lower salaries and benefits. This may result in having the right number of people in the right roles, but they are not necessarily efficient or effective.

Even when growth eventually occurs, the problem is not resolved if you bring staff back into your organisation, hoping not to spend any training money on them. Creating the capability matrix before you can be sure you have matched the skill sets within your organisation to people's roles, we advise our clients to create an organisation capability matrix. This is a score card system, rating each functional role, with a possible total score of 100, allowing you to identify your organisation’s capability gaps.

For an even broader perspective, you can relate this capability score to the Red-Blue-Black roles in your organisation (see article 2 'The right people doing the right jobs' for more on Red-Blue-Black). In this way, you can calculate a capability score for the entire back office support (Red) area, the whole revenue or operations (Blue) area and a capability score for the strategic management (Black) area.

Client example:

We recently helped one of our clients to make this capability calculation. Their back office capability score was more than 80% and their capability score in the black, strategic area was more than 50%. But their capability score in the blue, revenue area was less than 25%.

These results quickly focused that organisation on where it needed to act. The top managers said, "It's been completely empowering to be able to identify our capability gap. We knew something was wrong, but we couldn't pinpoint the problem exactly."

Building the right capability prepares an organisation for growth. It's therefore not just about getting the capability picture right today. It's also about looking at tomorrow's picture because that's when the major growth will come.

Recommendation:

Prepare a capability matrix for your entire organisation and start to fill those capability gaps. This simple intervention will help you to  plan more accurately - and get ready for growth.

Every Shirlaws event is designed to address at least one area of a business's capability matrix - visit our Events page for details of the next UK workshop or seminar in your area.

 

Take Stages test: burst through your brick walls

 

There are 14 key stages that each business needs to go through to get to advanced, sustainable growth - including two brick walls which many companies never break through.

Find out where you are in the lifecycle - and what to do next. Complete stages and download your 15-page action plan.

Take the Stages test

 

References (6)

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    Back to Basics #3 - the right skills for your business - Shirlaws Business Performance Blog - Business Coaching for Entrepreneurs Shirlaws UK
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    Back to Basics #3 - the right skills for your business - Shirlaws Business Performance Blog - Business Coaching for Entrepreneurs Shirlaws UK
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    Back to Basics #3 - the right skills for your business - Shirlaws Business Performance Blog - Business Coaching for Entrepreneurs Shirlaws UK
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    Back to Basics #3 - the right skills for your business - Shirlaws Business Performance Blog - Business Coaching for Entrepreneurs Shirlaws UK
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