Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Learning Technologies: capability

At Learning Technologies, I talked about organisational capability having two roles in enabling business results.

The first is through supporting implementation. Organisations are increasingly realising that it is often not the quality of their strategy but their employees’ ability to implement this that will make the difference.

In his book, Execution Ram Charan defines this ability to execute as ‘the missing link between aspirations and results’.

But secondly, and even more importantly, the link applies the other way round too.

Organisational Capability isn’t just about implementing business strategy, it’s also about providing the basis for new strategic and opportunities.

This is illustrated in the slide.

The top arrow provides an organisation with the ability to implement business objectives. The bottom arrow develops new capability that enables the organisation to set different or more stretching business goals.

The top arrow is about taking the business plan and saying, OK we need to be more innovative, or have better leaders or whatever, in order to implement this. The bottom arrow is about looking at your people, and saying, we have some really collaborative people, or a great shared mindset, or whatever, and if we developed this, that could really provide us with a great competitive advantage.

The bottom arrow is much more transformational that the one on the top (those readers familiar with the value triangle may recognise this as the created and added value levels of the triangle). So learning will have a lot more impact if it focuses on developing capability that will support new opprtunities and strategies than just implementing the current business strategy.