Are You Managing People Effectively? Use the Capability vs Time Template

Manage People Effectively with the Capability vs Time Template

‘I am not liking my new job mate. They brought me in to head-up Marketing, but they are using 10% of my capability, yet 300% of my time!’. This was a conversation with a friend who recently left his old job to join a new company as their Head of Marketing. He regrets the move. He also went on to say that they could ‘pay someone half my salary to do what I am doing’, and that ‘the company had its people management all wrong’. In short, they are simply not managing people effectively.

I see this in so many companies. People are being stretched in all the wrong ways. Banged-out with work that does not utilise their capability and just has them working nights and weekends.

How Can You Change This?

If you are a leader, this is how. Use this simple template below – The Cap-Time Template:

Manage People Effectively, Capability vs Time Template

How Does the Cap-Time Matrix Work?

The above Boston matrix shows two axes; capability and time. On the vertical (y-axis) we see capability. In the top 2 boxes are people who are at the top of their capability. These people are being managed effectively. They are stretched to use their skills to the optimum. For example, an administrator might be asked to manage a relatively simple project, or a Sales Director asked to plan the next 3 years of sales. On the bottom two boxes, we see people whose capability is not being stretched. Therefore, their skills are not being fully utilised.

Manage People Effectively, Capability vs Time Template

On the (x-axis) we see time (P.s. If you wish to remember which axis is which, just remember ‘x’ is for across). On the left two boxes, we see people whose time is not being stretched, and in the right two boxes, we see people whose time is being stretched. The challenge with understanding time is that we want people to be stretched without ‘falling-over’. So, for this exercise, we’ll assume that the optimum is someone operating just past the vertical line of time. They are in the right-hand side boxes but just past the central line and certainly not at the absolute right-hand side. At the absolute right-hand side of the x-axis of time, we’d assume that people are working evenings and weekends.

How Do I Use This Template to Manage People Effectively?


Ask your people/team to allot themselves. Use it in your 121 to understand the space a person has both in their ability and in their time. Or whether there is no space and they are being stretched in capability or time too far. This is especially useful with remote teams where you cannot see for yourself because you are having to work through the filter of a screen.

Manage People Effectively, Capability vs Time Template

Plot Yourself

Where do you position yourself on the matrix? Just add your name and Linkedin url by clicking on the image below:

For further tips and information, you can take a look at our Ultimate Guide to People Management Skills and our People Management Skills YouTube Channel. Also, check out our award-winning blog to see more People Management Skills Tips and HR Management Tips.

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