When you start your EOS® journey, you’re going to have a lot of questions. One of those is going to be around the concept of EOS GWC™, or Get it, Want it, have the Capacity to do it. After my clients get a solid understanding of GWC, someone on the team usually raises their hand and asks, “Jeff, what’s the difference between ‘get it’ and ‘capacity’?”
It’s a totally common and understandable question. And, if you don’t know the answer, you can potentially waste a ton of time and money. We certainly don’t want that. Do we?
What is EOS GWC?
You probably know something about the Entrepreneurial Operating System®. After all, you landed on this page. But, I want to take one minute to touch on GWC specifically.
When a company has existed for a while, people tend to shift around in their roles. They take on jobs that aren’t necessarily their strong suit, because someone has to do it, and they were around. One of the first things we do in an EOS Implementation is build an Accountability Chart™. That’s where we basically delete the old Org Chart and start from scratch. The goal here is to put the Right People in the Right Seat™.
- Get it: they understand how the job works, why it’s important, and what it entails
- Want it: they have some level of passion about the job / they want to do it
- Capacity: they can actually do the job
If a person has all three of those, they are in the Right Seat. When you have the Right People in the Right Seats, results come fast
Why EOS GWC is confusing
Where people get held up is the difference between Get it and Capacity to do it.
On paper it seems easy to tell the difference. Bob has an M.A. in machine learning. He has the capacity to work on a machine learning project. He thinks he is supposed to be in a supervisory role, but really he is needed to do the programming. He clearly doesn’t Get it.
In the real world, though, telling the difference is hard. Often, someone will not be succeeding, and the team can’t tell if they have a Capacity issue or a Getting it issue. No one knows, because Bob is telling everyone he Gets it and has the Capacity to do it. But, if he did, he wouldn’t be failing at his job.
Why the difference is important
You need to know which one of these is causing someone to fail at their job. Why? Because Capacity can be fixed, but Get it never can. If someone doesn’t Get it, they never will. Simple as that. When an employee has a critical misunderstanding of what the job entails, you explain it one time. If they still don’t Get it, you’re wasting your breath.
On the other hand, when it comes to EOS GWC Capacity is often and easy fix. A Capacity issue can be something as simple as:
- needing a specific skill training
- needing a bigger budget
- having too much on their plate at work
- having too much on their plate at home
These issues aren’t always easy to fix. But, they are fixable.
Again, on paper you can just say, “this person lacks Capacity. Fire them and get a new one.” Well, first that’s evil. Second, firing someone ain’t easy, and you only do it when you have to. What if this person is your friend, husband, sister-in-law, co-founder. If there is any way to fix their Capacity, you’re going to want to identify the fix and execute it at all costs. But, if they just don’t Get it, you may have to have that very difficult conversation.
speaking of conflict.
How to tell the difference
This will sound cheesy, but the first and easiest way to tell the difference is to just ask.
If you’ve created a work environment that encourages honest and openness, asking should get you the right result 90% of the time. Sure, sometimes someone doesn’t know they don’t Get it. But, 90% of the time they will.
Creating that environment isn’t so easy, but it’s worth it. No matter what stage your business is in, building open dialogue should be a priority.
If asking doesn’t bring out an answer, it’s time to deep dive on the job itself. Start asking these questions to explore the person’s EOS GWC:
- What are the technical skills or social required
- How many hours a week should this job require
- What did the last person in this role do that worked / didn’t work
- Are there any specific, identifiable problems you can point to?
- Who thinks there is a Capacity / Get it issue? What are their reasons?
- What outputs / measureables aren’t getting met?
When you start looking for specifics, you’ll find one of two things. Either the team kind point to highly specific problems, or they are stuck on more general problems. The more specific the problem, the more likely it is to be a Capacity problem. Likewise, a vague problem is more likely to be a Get it issue.
REEXAMINE THE ACCOUNTABILITY CHART:
Sometimes the problem isn’t the person at all. The problem can be the Accountability Chart. Doesn’t matter how smart someone is. If the role was poorly defined from the start, they will never Get it.
Meet the Founder
Jeff Whittle founded and launched Whittle & Partners in 2011. Before that, Jeff practiced law in Dallas for 15 years and has an additional 20 years of executive business experience. He has run businesses ranging from startups to 300-employee operations.