Building Capability

How Identifying Accountability for Capability-Building Program Execution Helps Build Organisational Capabilities

identifying accountability for capability building program

Organisational capabilities don’t build themselves. You need to have someone in charge of executing a capability-building program in your workplace. This is someone who will take accountability for the creation and rollout of your organisation’s capability-building program. 

How to define accountability for capability-building programs 

A capability-building program is an important weapon in your organisational arsenal, but the process of developing capability-building programs is just as important. 

To identify who is responsible for executing capability-building programs in your organisation, you need to identify who has the greatest understanding of both your organisational capabilities and business goals. This means understanding what capabilities are needed to meet organisational priorities and which capabilities need to be developed or taught to meet those requirements. 

For this reason, senior leaders are typically seen as better executors of organisational capability-building programs than HR leaders. McKinsey found that organisations had better performance due to linkage between capabilities and business outcomes. This isn’t to say that HR and L&D teams have no responsibility at all when it comes to developing capability-building programs, they are integral partners for success.  

So, HR and L&D are integral for execution and this is proven over time. When it comes to ultimate accountability, roles with organisational development and people capability come to the fore. Not big enough to have these roles standalone? Build OD and people capability into your HR and L&D roles for the biggest win. Getting specific, think of job roles such as: 

The challenges of identifying accountability for capability-building programs 

We went hard on the definition above, making it super tangible. But does that make it easy? Unfortunately, no. We said before that senior leaders don’t have sole responsibility for developing and executing capability-building programs. In general, it’s a collaborative process, but issues can arise when the burden of accountability skews too far in one direction. 

HR and L&D teams cover processes that senior leaders don’t. Their job is to define organisational capabilities. This means evaluating which capabilities the workforce currently possesses, which are needed to meet desired business outcomes, and assessing the gap between both sets of data. 

It’s the job of these groups to gain buy-in from senior leaders, allowing senior leaders to understand the scope of the situation. Not just in terms of organisational capabilities, but in regards to organisational strategy as well. This buy-in is necessary because senior leaders are the individuals with influence over their employees. While HR and L&D teams can certainly set learning, their input just doesn’t foster the same amount of motivation a senior leader would doing the same thing. 

On the other hand, senior leaders just don’t have the capability to do what HR and L&D leaders do. HR has the processes necessary to perform company-wide assessments of organisational capabilities and assess the results. To ask a senior leader to do the analysis themselves when HR and L&D teams have the ability to do so already is a waste of time and opens your business to risk. 

You need to make sure you strike the right balance between leaders and HR and L&D groups. Without it, your capability-building programs will be confused and ineffective, which your organisation may suffer for. 

The impacts of not identifying who is accountable for executing capability-building programs 

When you have no one assuming the responsibility of executing organisational capability building in your business, your capability-building programs become disjointed, ineffective and lacking in direction. 

Your senior leaders will know what capabilities are needed for your organisation to operate, improve and meet targets. But if they aren’t given the responsibility of setting learning goals or identifying best practice capability-building programs and processes, your workforce will not be able to thrive. It will lead to confusion about organisational goals as well as a lack of cohesion between teams. 

Similarly, employees who feel they aren’t being granted adequate professional development opportunities may feel it necessary to leave your company if you don’t provide effective capability-building programs. Your staff want to feel fulfilled in their work, and mindless, directionless learning (or a lack of learning altogether) is not a fulfilling enterprise. 

You’d think defining accountability is a given, but it’s commonly not in organisational capability building, given how many people influence. Make sure you include this crucial step to ensure you don’t underperform.

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