Right now half your staff are thinking about leaving. Why don’t people care about the internal career anymore, and what can you do about it?

When we pitch CapabilityBuilder we share three startling metrics. Half of all first time managers fail. Half of your staff are thinking about leaving you. Half of your millennial employees will be gone in two years. In this series of three articles we dive deeper into these claims to show why you need to re-think how you manage your people.

In the second article in this series we look at employee “loyalty” and why people…


Up to half of all first time managers fail. Why does it happen, and how can you stop it?

When we pitch CapabilityBuilder we share three startling metrics. Half of all first time managers fail. Half of your staff are thinking about leaving you. Half of your millennial employees will be gone in two years. In this series of three articles we dive deeper into these claims to show why you need to re-think how you manage your people.

First up, we look at the plight of first time managers.

Is it really true that half of them fail? What…


“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted” — William Bruce Cameron, sociologist

When we present our Role Maker app and the capability matrix approach that underpins it, one question we are frequently asked is “what do you measure”? People professionals and managers want to know how our system, which is focused on professional development and career mapping, fits within their existing approach to performance management.

The short answer is “we don’t measure anything”. Unsurprisingly that isn’t a very satisfactory response.

So here’s a slightly longer answer…

Don’t Measure for the Sake of Measuring Something

There’s an aphorism in management circles…


Taking a product to the public for the first time isn’t just a sales exercise, it’s a learning opportunity!

Steve gets ready for the rush

CapabilityBuilder at PauseFest 2017

Three days, over a hundred speakers and panellists, hundreds more attendees from across the Australian and international creative, communication and technology scenes, more VR than you can poke a virtual stick at, and a Tesla car.

PauseFest 2017. “Australasia’s premier innovation festival”, according to the website. In reality a cross between a trade fair, mass meetup and academic conference. It’s been held every year since 2011 in our home town of Melbourne. …


New research says the future of work is gloriously unstructured. But what should you do when people need structure?

In 2016 Accenture published their annual Digital Health Technology Vision. One of five trends identified by the Technology Vision Team is the emergence of what they call the Liquid Workforce. (You can read an overview and download the trend report here.)

Liquid Workforce is a catchy name for a concept we’ve been discussing for a while. It involves several elements of the “flexible and deployable workforce”, including the absolute importance of continuous learning, and the ever-increasing redundancy of traditional position descriptions…


Throwing people in the deep end is a great way to destroy careers. Try teaching them to swim instead.

The famous Peter Principle states that “managers rise to the level of their incompetence”. Laurence Peter formulated his axiom in 1969, and although a lot has changed since then the underlying logic continues to undermine the success of most organisations — often because they promote people without preparation or support, setting them up to fail.

Perhaps a modern re-working of the Principle would be:

“Managers are promoted until they burn out.”

A lot of people succeed as managers and seem to…


“Culture” means a lot of things, it doesn’t have to mean conformity.

Equus africanus asinus

Carrots and Sticks

Proverbially there are two ways to motivate a donkey: with a carrot and a stick.

Too often performance management treats employees like donkeys. Performance pay, bonuses, promotions, secondments and training are dangled in front of people as rewards for effort, while those who “under-perform” are denied opportunities and threatened with termination.

As we’ve discussed elsewhere people have complex motivations, and their emotional and psychological needs mean that carrot-and-stick approaches can easily backfire. …


If Sun Tzu were alive today, he would tell business leaders to roll up their sleeves and do some very hard work.

Talk about leadership is everywhere. Business schools, bloggers, pundits and leaders themselves are all obsessed with the topic. Apparently we all agree that leadership is the vital ingredient in the success of an enterprise.

We cannot, however, agree what leadership actually IS.

Sun Tzu: if he were alive today he’d be Bill Gates, apparently

War and Business

Perhaps this is why so many executives and business school teachers look to the example of military leadership when developing a theory to guide practice “in the boardroom”. Works on Great Generals of history abound on…


The rush to replace performance management with agile, instantaneous and individualised feedback may sweep away the good with the bad.

In a previous post we talked about why performance management fails, and mentioned a growing list of prominent businesses that are abandoning it.

These leading companies, such as Deloitte, Accenture and Adobe have recognised that traditional people management systems fail to deliver the promised productivity results while undermining employee engagement and wasting billions of dollars in lost time.

We argue that the villains in the performance management story are rankings (especially stacked rankings), and opaque, unpredictable and arbitrary objectives.

Regular…


“Apprentice. Man and boy making shoes”, Louis Emile Adan (1839–1937)

Many business leaders complain that universities turn out graduates that are not “job ready”. We often hear about a “war for talent”, where businesses have to offer unsustainable salaries and benefits to get the skills they need. Meanwhile tech and creative-focused business increasingly use interns, a system that is coming under intense criticism.

The solution to all these problems is simple.

Don’t hunt for talent, grow it.

Mike Monteiro, a leading American digital designer and founder of Mule Design, gives a wonderful talk entitled “This is the golden age of design! … and we’re screwed”. We were lucky to see…

CapabilityBuilder

Capability Builder provides software and professional development to streamline people management processes and build the confidence and capability of teams

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