The Executive Toolbox: Capable and Committed Team Members

A team that is capable is able to achieve what they need to do efficiently. A team that is committed is dedicated to achieving the team’s goals.

To be successful, a team, and each member of the team, has to be both. Very often, as a consultant, I’ve worked with clients to make the distinction between capable and committed to enable them to determine the best approach to use with a team member who isn’t performing at an acceptable level.

Using the simple:

CAN DO (Capable)/CAN’T DO (Not Capable)

WILL DO (Committed)/WON’T DO (Not Committed)

model I ask the client to assess if the person CAN DO their job, meaning does he currently have the skills and knowledge that allows him to do is job efficiently. If he CAN’T DO the job, is it a situation where even with additional experience or training he would still be unable to perform at an acceptable level? If he CAN’T DO the job because he’s inexperienced or hasn’t had needed training, does the organization have the ability and capacity to assist him in gaining the needed experience or training or are both better served by replacing that employee?

If an employee WILL DO the job he’s been hired to do he’s made the commitment both to himself and to the organization. If an employee WON’T DO the job he’s been hired to do, it’s essential to understand why, particularly if this is due to a change in his performance.

Regardless of the employee’s role in the organization, the person who can most effectively influence an employee’s performance is his boss – regardless if his direct boss is a first line supervisor or the CEO.

I’ve often heard it said, “People don’t work for companies, people work for people.”   Insuring manager’s at all levels encourage and reward employees who CAN DO (are capable) and WILL DO (are committed) their jobs and address issues when employees CAN’T DO (are not capable) or WON’T DO (are not willing) is essential.

Most of us have worked in at least one organization or for a boss who either spent all her time addressing the issues of those who were not capable nor committed and spent little energy on the employees who were both, or, ignored the issues of the non-performers and non-committed, and moved their work to those who were capable and committed.

Leveraging that experience to understand the importance of addressing those issues consistently and fairly so we can retain those who are capable and competent is an important tool for your Executive Toolbox.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.


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