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Tech#02: Establishing Team Capabilities for the job and spotting the gaps

This technique is used by a business network or organisational team to assess its collective capabilities and then compare this with what capabilities are required to achieve its objectives.

There are 4 main steps

Step 1 – Create the Blank Capability Matrix

Step 2 – Consolidate the Team Capabilities

Step 3 – Review and refine the Consolidated Team Capabilities

Step 4 – Identify the required capabilities

The technique is supported by a spreadsheet to a) gather individual capabilities, b) consolidate them and c) create a visual capability heatmap

The process in detail:

Step 1 – Create the Blank Capability Matrix

1.1 X-Axis - Identify the key capability areas

For a Network:

Try to find and use a standard classification of the industry area – for example in IT you can use the Intellect Sub-sectors whereas in Environmental Technology you can use the UK DTI 14 sub-categories

For a Team

Identify the most important key experience areas in the organisation that the team will have to cover such as covering Finance, IT, Business Development, Project Management. Use organisational standard terms wherever possible.

A good start point is to use the organisational department/functional areas

1.2 Y-Axis - Identify the key capability types

For a Network:

Now get the companies in the network to list the main things they actually do for customers.

The easiest way to do this is first identify the explicit activities – you can get this by asking them individually to list their products and services.

Encourage them to write them as capabilities rather than product names.

You then need to add to this the implicit activities – what else do they do which supports customer projects/product delivery – this will include design, project management, customer support etc.

The Next step is to take all their individual inputs and consolidate it into a list with all duplicates removed. You will need to check with them whether they mean the same thing in specific cases.

For a Team

Now identify the most important activities the team will need to carry out.

First identify core activities which can cross more than one functional boundary (e.g. project management)

Then identify key functional activities more specific to a single Capability Area – for example Finance-Preparing Business Models, IT – User Acceptance Test Planning.

The best approach is for the team to do this individually then to take all their input for this and consolidate it into a list with all duplicates removed.

If you are running multiple virtual teams you will be able to reuse and refine this matrix with each project so it’s worth trying to get in right at the start.

Step 2 – Consolidate the Team Capabilities

Now you need to circulate the blank matrices from Step 1 and have the team complete them as individuals

As well as recording capabilities you may also record capability levels (e.g. experienced, intermediate or beginner for individuals or core, pilot or ambition for companies)

This exercise will also identify missing capability areas and types which should be added to the matrix

Step 3 – Review and refine the Consolidated Team Capabilities

Now you need to consolidate the capabilities for the team or network

For a Network

You should use the Kernel spreadsheet to create a Capability Heatmap (which is a sorted version of the Consolidated Matrix) to identify the number of companies who have a capability in each cell on the matrix

The “heatmap” provides a strategic discussion starter on where the network should focus its efforts, where it is strong and where it needs partnerships or new members. However it is not an exact science particularly in the boundary areas.

It identifies 4 distinct zones:

Hot Zone

Focus most early business development effort here to provide the best returns. Also be aware there will also be the most internal competition in this zone.

Warm Zone

Develop and extend own member capabilities and areas to attack here. This is where we can extend an existing capability into a new market area or introduce a new capability into a market area where we already have strong presence/ reputation/ relationships.

Cool Zone

We should only enter this zone through partnerships and new members – the chances of a win on the networks own capabilities probably do not justify the effort that would need to be expended.

Ice Zone

We should avoid this zone we are neither in the activities nor the sub-sectors – likely to be a waste of time.

For a Team

You should use the Kernel spreadsheet to create the Consolidated Matrix (but do not sort it into a Heatmap) which identifies the number of team members who have a capability in each cell on the matrix

Step 4 – Identify the required capabilities

For a Network

Identify 2-3 tenders which are representative of the type of contracts the network wishes to win.

Code each of these tenders up as before as a Required Capability Matrix

Next compare them with the Consolidated Network Capability Matrix to identify missing capabilities, required new members and alliances

For a Team

Focus on the immediate project and code it up as a Required Capability Matrix.

Compare this with the Consolidated Team Capability Matrix to identify missing capabilities and additional team members required.


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