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Measuring Your Employees' Capacity

Written by Don Tinney on December 22, 2016

EOS Leadership Team Employees Management

a nearly-full water bucket | measuring your employees' capacityOne of your many challenges as a manager is determining who on your team has the capacity to be effective in their current role or an open position they want to take.

In Traction, capacity is the last measurable in the GWC equation and is defined this way: “Capacity means having the time as well as the mental, physical, and emotional capacity to do a job well.”

Measuring Capacity of Your Direct Reports

Simply put, Can your team member consistently deliver what you need when you need it? To answer that question, you'll need to do three things:

  1. You must clarify what you need
  2. You must make sure your direct report has been properly equipped to deliver what you need
  3. You must measure their performance to be sure you're consistently getting what you need

If you're struggling to find a way to measure what you need, then you most likely haven't clearly defined your expectations. Without that clarity, you won't be able to measure capacity and hold your people accountable. Here are a few examples of capacity, translated into measurables:

  • Salesperson – number of presentations per week, close rate, and average gross margin
  • Installer – installation hours relative to quoted hours, return trips to address installation issues
  • Designer – designs produced, designs accepted, number of design alterations per project

Capacity is the demonstrated ability to hit one or more targets or specific measurables within a predetermined timeframe. Capacity is also measured by whether they can deliver without supervision. It doesn't count if you have to look over their shoulder to get it done.

Tough Decisions

After doing your part to meet the three requirements above, if performance measurables reveal a lack of capacity, you have a tough decision to make:

  1. Leave him in the seat. This decision is only viable when you leave him in place for the time it takes you to find someone with the capacity you need. Act quickly, because leaving that person in the seat could prevent you from achieving your vision.
  2. Move him to a seat he gets, wants and has the capacity to perform effectively. Whenever possible, keep anyone who fits your culture. Great core value matches are hard to find. However, avoid creating a non-vital seat just to retain him. That move will erode your bottom line and send the wrong message to the rest of the team.
  3. Remove him from your team.

Remember, all of this is done in the context of building a dream team that can win. You are not going to “win your championship” with players who lack capacity.

Action Steps:

  • Clarify what you need with simple, time-based measurables for each role
  • Hold your direct reports accountable for delivering on those expectations 

Other Blog Posts in This “One Great People Move” Series

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More Blog Posts: ← Employee Engagement: The Most Misunderstood Driver of Results | A Great Habit is Hard to Break