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Change Management Office - Are you getting the most out of your capability matrix?

As one of the key functions of the Change Management Office (CMO) is to build change capability in their practice and across the enterprise, it’s no surprise that a capability matrix for the change management team members is a useful tool for the CMO Practice Lead.

The capability matrix, also known as a competency matrix or skill inventory, is a tool used by organisations and teams to map out and visualise the skills, expertise, and competencies available. It is represented as a grid that lists employees on one axis and the change capabilities you have identified on the other axis.

By completing the matrix, you can quickly see which of your change team members possess the relevant skills for specific tasks or projects and identify gaps in the team's collective capabilities.

Capture WILL as well as SKILL

In his book, The Tao of Coaching, Max Landsberg introduced the WILL/SKILL Matrix as a model that explains the virtues of employee will and motivation. While skills are important, they can often be developed or improved over time through training and experience.

The WILL/SKILL Matrix shows us that there is great value in also capturing the interest in the capability, as well as the competency. Capturing your team member's interest shows you their appetite for learning and likelihood of experimenting with new approaches.

In my observations, some practice leads create a capability matrix, yet very few leverage the benefits from the data captured. Here’s six ways you can use it:


1.      Encourage Reverse Mentoring - Typically, reverse mentoring is when a senior employee reaches out to a younger or more junior employee to learn about something or gain a fresh perspective, or both! It keeps early career employees motivated that they have valued expertise to share and the person being mentored learns new skills. A win/win outcome for both!

2.      Resource Allocation – When you are leading a pool of talented change practitioners, you may have the opportunity to choose who is assigned to specific change initiatives. When a project requires strengths or experience in a particular skill, you can look at the matrix for a quick review of who is the best fit.

3.      Recruitment Decisions – When recruiting new team members look at your matrix to see if which skills are low or absent. Bringing in a new team member with the missing piece/s will lift the entire team, especially if you ask them to run a couple of lunch & learn or shadowing sessions to share what they know.

4.      Succession Planning – Use the data to evaluate who is ready to step up, not just in terms of capabilities, but also who has the motivation to learn and take on additional responsibilities.

5.      Peer to peer learning - We often overlook the skills and experience we have right in front of us – inside our own organisation. This is often an untapped resource. When we learn from and with our peers, we learn quickly in a safe environment, and it promotes a culture of sharing and curiosity.

6.      Career Development – Look at the matrix to help you decide what the professional development focus areas are for the entire team, and for individuals. This will ensure you allocate your training budget wisely and will guide conversations for individual performance development plans.

The Capability Matrix isn’t just for change teams! You can use this for any team to help you capture skills and identify and gaps and strengths for team development and productivity.


We have more information and the Capability/Skills Matrix template with full instructions in Change Management Office in a Box. If you want to try it out, we have an editable ‘express version’ you can download by clicking on the Change Management Office Capability Matrix image under 'Infographics' on this page here.


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