Taking Inventory & A Model For Making It Meaningful

Labour Day weekend always feels to me like a harbinger of renewal.  The children are off to school again equipped with new school supplies and shining faces.  College students are settling in to a new semester. And, everyone else is pretty much back to work after the summer holidays.

Time to turn over a new page, I think, and take some inventory.  It’s a good thing to take inventory from time to time, if only to assure ourselves that we are going in the right direction and toward the right goal.

Years ago, a very smart man, Hubert Saint-Onge, created and presented this simple model that has remained with me ever since.  It is a model that illustrates what must be present for us to effect change or ensure the achievement of our goals.  I think it is a perfect tool to use when taking organizational, or personal, inventory.

Three elements comprise this model.  They are Focus, Commitment and Capability.

Focus is about having a clear sense of destination…  what you want to achieve and why. As well as who will be involved or impacted and where you want to go with it all.

Commitment is about the attitudes, emotions, will, and the degree to which there is a sense of ownership among people.  In short, this is about what is now more popularly referred to as employee engagement, or just simply engagement.

Capability is about the degree to which skills, knowledge, processes and resources are present.

Take a look at the model here.

It shows that:

  • If you have focus and commitment, but no capability, the goal becomes something you would do if you could or had the resources you needed to get it done.
  • If you have commitment and capability, but no focus, the goal becomes something you may do if you were to get clear on what it is and why you want to go there.
  • And, if you have capability and focus, but no commitment the goal becomes something you could do but only if you wanted to.

I like this model because, to me, it clearly illustrates the necessity for all three of these elements to converge before an environment of positive, purposeful action can be created.

So, when taking inventory, or preparing to make a change, perhaps it would help to give consideration to these three elements and ask yourself some questions like:

Focus: Since first establishing our goals, what, if anything, has changed?  Do these goals continue to fit our view of the future for ourselves? for our company? for our current environment? Why are these goals important? How might we achieve greater clarity? What might we be missing?

Commitment: How engaged are those who follow? Are they clear about why the organization is in business and what it strives to achieve? Do they see themselves in the picture?  If we don’t know, how will we find out?  If we do know, what do we need to do to keep, or earn, their loyalty and optimal contribution?

Capability: Do we have the skills we need?  If not, what training do we need and in what format? Do we hire expertise or develop it? Do we have the equipment and resources we need?  If so, do we know how to make optimal use of them? What are the things that will likely get in our way?  How good are we at addressing these things?

There are of course a myriad of possible questions that I have not come up with here.  How we each take inventory can be a very personal thing but the three elements of focus, commitment and capability seem like a good place to start.

What do you think?  What would you add? How useful might this tool be for you? for your business?



Filed under Change Management, communication, Employee engagement, Leading Change, Leading Teams, Learning

5 responses to “Taking Inventory & A Model For Making It Meaningful

  1. Perfect timing, Gwyn. I’m going to spend tomorrow up in the mountains, next to a river, doing a personal/business retreat.

    I bought a book called The Creative Entrepreneur, which has many cool exercises I will use. I’m packing up the water colors, colored pencils, a cool new notebook, my netbook computer, and lots of other stuff.

    So thank you for this additional food for thought.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Taking Inventory & A Model For Making It Meaningful « You’re Not the Boss of Me -- Topsy.com

  3. Gwyn Teatro

    Ava, I’m thinking that with all those tools and your own awesomeness, you will come back from your retreat with more than even *you* expect!

    Happy noodling!!

  4. Congratulations! This post was selected as one of the five best independent business blog posts of the week in my Three Star Leadership Midweek Review of the Business Blogs.


    Wally Bock

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