October 2

Make Up for Budget and Staff Cuts by looking at your Team’s Capacity, Character and Competencies


By Chuck Coker

Increasing individual capacity without much additional funding

What many managers and employees miss is that there is a wealth of free training and information. All you have to do is do a search. For example, if you are considering formal education for your marketing department, you can inquire with the following 20 institutions about opportunities to improve your education, at no cost:

  • Online Education Database
  • Harvard and MIT (joint effort)
  • Open Culture
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • The University of California at Irvine
  • Tufts University
  • Stanford University
  • Yale University
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of Washington
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • New York University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Gresham College
  • Open University
  • Utah Valley State College
  • Utah State University
  • Kutztown University
  • University of Southern Queensland

If you, or your employees, enjoy learning by being involved with an educational association, there are dozens of associations that require little expense and can bring many best practice concepts to the organization. Based on the area of expertise, the following associations can help build capacity through osmosis.

  • E-marketing Association
  • Association of Marketing
  • American Marketing Association
  • National e-tailing and Mailing Organization of America
  • Business Marketing Association
  • Internet Marketing Association
  • Direct Marketing Association
  • Promotion Marketing Association
  • Word of Mouth Marketing Association
  • Academy of Marketing
  • Academy of Marketing Science
  • Web Marketing Association
  • Association for International Product Management
  • Interactive Marketing Association

What normal research cannot contribute is your level of expertise. There is always a collaboration with local associations, or other trade, business, or professional groups. Your employees just need to know where to look, and you can direct them.

We have discussed the importance of looking at your employees as your greatest asset. We have also discussed the fact that you are a key to developing their capacity and building new competencies into their portfolio. This is the top priority for your employees. They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Only you can lead and inspire them.

However, you cannot lead and inspire someone that you know nothing about. As a leader, you have to manage tasks, but you must also inspire your employees to perform.

Using Competency, Character, and Capacity to offset a decreased budget and focus on ROI

Most marketing departments operate under constant pressure to prove value. They remain under leadership’s microscope for results, and the minute they are perceived to not do so, they get the budget ax. This approach is counterproductive and can damage department morale.

Here is a quote from a 2012 study by the Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies at Cornell University:

practices that emphasize short-term performance such as intensive performance monitoring and commission-based pay lead to higher rates of quits, dismissals, and total turnover.

Bill Hewlett, the co-founder of Hewlett Packard, once said, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.”

This notion laid the foundation for programs, such as Total Quality Management, to the SMART process mentioned earlier in this book. In short, if you want to get something done, you must develop an approach that can be mapped out and measured in incremental steps, so you have a basis for direction, timeliness, and success.

Here is a human capital/talent management example from a 2012 Wall Street Journal article, “Meet the New Boss: Big Data, Companies trade in hunch-based hiring for computer modeling”

When looking for workers to staff its call centers, Xerox Corp. used to pay lots of attention to applicants who had done the job before. Then, a computer program told the printer and outsourcing company that experience doesn’t matter. . . ?For more and more companies, the hiring boss is an algorithm. The factors they consider are different than what applicants have come to expect. Jobs that were once filled on the basis of work history and interviews are left to personality tests and data analysis, as employers aim for more than just a hunch that a person will do the job well. Under pressure to cut costs and boost productivity, employers are trying to predict specific outcomes, such as whether a prospective hire will quit too soon, file disability claims or steal.

Eegardless of how much data you’ve garnered about your employees, you must start working with the tools you have. The recommendations below begin with the assumption that you have no data backlog (A), ending with having sufficient data to make a well-educated decision (J) about managing and developing the 4Cs in each of your employees.

Start with these options:

  1. Use each individual’s resume (when hired) as an inventory checklist of skills and training they have completed for competency development.
  2. Add additional skills and data from interviews and meetings that can provide insight into the 4Cs.
  3. Add the skill sets acquired and developed through training while in their present (and past) positions.
  4. Semi-annual and annual review identify competence, character, and chemistry progression during employment.
  5. Any data gathered on skills assessments at the time of hiring or during a tenure will help measure competencies.
  6. Any data gathered on interests or ability assessments at the time of hiring or during a tenure will assist in measuring capacities.
  7. Any data gathered on personality assessments at the time of hiring or during a tenure will provide insight into character, chemistry, and capacity.
  8. Any data gathered from assessments from hiring or during a tenure that will assist in measuring each of the 4Cs
  9. Any data gathered their HR/Personnel file that will assist in measuring the accumulated experience of knowledge gathered.
  10. Any data gathered from the corporate knowledge management system (or university) your company employs can provide insight into additional competencies, skills, etc., gathered since the beginning of employment.

Once you have the data collected, use the rubric below for the developmental process with each employee:


Interview or references gathered

Human resource or human capital Information

Assessments or talent mgmt. scores/insight

On the job skills, knowledge mgmt. or certifications

Competencies and skills they bring to the table

Character and past personal successes they can illustrate

Chemistry and team activities they can document

Capacity to perform short-, mid- and long-term objectives

Other comments or illustrations that provide insight

In the past, marketing managers often felt they did not have time to keep up with this information, due to heavy task demands, and the information’s seemingly unrelated nature to marketing. However, we have learned that this process is like many others it takes an initial time investment, but can make leadership and management much more practicable.

The important thing to remember is that you can identify and quantify a significant amount of information about each employee, even if you do not have sophisticated systems in place. You just need to focus on the data that will give you the most return on investment.

About the author 

Chuck Coker

For more than 30 years, Chuck has focused his career on people's development. He has implemented proprietary Personal Formation, Human Capital, Talent Management, and incentive-based programs across a broad scope of Fortune Companies, regional organizations, and educational institutions.


You may also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}