RSS Working at Peak Capacity

In every organization, the recipe for success is predicated upon the management’s ability to accurately measure the number of employees required to achieve their strategic objectives. It also requires that management balance the underlying aptitudes and capacities of their talent, and a work environment that provides their employees with flexibility to learn and grow on the job. This recipe is ever changing, based upon such ingredients as the ability of an organization to retain their best talent, the ability and interest of that talent to expand their core competencies and the ability of management to refine their vision in the face of ever-changing competitive, economic and regulatory pressures.  

In each of these “ingredients” there exists a common factor of capacity. For purposes of this article, I define capacity simply as “quantifiable headspace,” which allows an individual, or the organization as a whole, to have a measurable amount of room to think and ponder, rather than simply performing at maximum efficiency. To me, there is a huge difference between an individual working at their maximum efficiency and one working at their peak capacity. The same holds true in my mind for profitable and sustainable organizations. While the thought of creating “headspace” in an organization sounds like an inefficient and costly stratagem, I offer the following individual and organizational examples that, to me, suggest otherwise.

In the case of a high tech firm, it is essential that they invest heavily in research and development, if for no other reason than to try and stave off the competition by creating faster, better or more fun ways to engage their clients. This is dedicated “headspace” and to them, a cost of doing business. Most organizations don’t have the time or the financial resources to invest specifically in R & D activities, and may only find time to think about new possibilities when they are away from work. Frankly, I think this reality is far more apparent today than at any other time in my professional career because the economic environment has predicated significant expense control measures simply to survive. The unintended consequences of a lack of organizational headspace are a static workforce and innovative ennui. These are NOT acceptable outcomes for organizations hoping to sustain long-term viability and validation. 

From an individual’s perspective, incorporating formal “headspace” time into daily activities promotes both creative thinking and renewed focus. Take for example a professional athlete who isn’t engaged in battle throughout the entire game, but rather has idle moments when he/she is pulled from the game simply to rest or watch the action from the bench. These brief respites offer the athlete time to think about and compare his/her performance in relation to the team and the competition, creating an opportunity to reenergize and reprioritize his/her activities when he/she next enters the game. It also provides the coaches an opportunity to constantly evaluate athletes’ ability to personally translate and interpret what they are seeing into possibly better performance going forward. 

Isn’t that the role that leaders are supposed to have; to create an environment where their talent has both the time and the resources to create truly differentiated value in the roles they have been hired to perform? For me, it is impossible to work at peak capacity when I fail to regularly include “headspace” among my professional priorities. The challenge for me however, and maybe for you, is to balance this time with the other professional priorities that come our way. Just because I think it’s critically important to work at peak capacity (which includes “headspace”) doesn’t mean it will come easy!

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Home About Archive Mitch HagstromMitch Hagstrom
Executive Vice President
Chief Banking Officer
Pacific Continental Bank

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