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The Employee Slingshot Effect

HOW TO GIVE MOMENTUM TO EFFORT FOR MAXIMUM IMPACT In the previous blog Fire up Capability we considered the importance of capability for meeting objectives. In fact, this link is not surprising as, by definition, this is what capability is – the corporate means to meet objectives. Of course this is only the starting point. We need to specify what capability really is in operational terms and how to manage it; something we took a step towards in the blog mentioned above.

In this blog, we want to make explicit the link to employees, that is, the human component in capability.

Intuitively we know that some environments are more congenial than others for staff to produce outstanding results. It’s as if some work environments were acting like magnifiers or accelerators of effort and effect. And this is the reference to the ‘slingshot’ effect in the title of this blog.

The slingshot effect, in space exploration, refers to a spatial probe being accelerated as it goes around a planet. In this metaphor, the probe corresponds to a person’s effort gaining momentum and effect in its interaction with the larger organisation, its environment, resources and processes – the planet.

The question is: how is one to create a slingshot effect for employees? Or, in other words:


Obviously this has something to do with the work environment created by the organisation. As long as the work environment does not actively create and foster maximum personal momentum towards the desired objectives, then the organisation operates below its optimal point!

Going back to our definition of capability which is “The quality of the environment, including structure, resources and processes, and the attitudes and skills of people and teams.”, we can immediately see that all the elements mentioned in the definition link to the human component in the system. Environment, resources, processes, attitude and skills are what impact employee performance.

This is quite an important point. When we specify structure, assemble resources and define processes towards meeting objectives, we need to think of the impact on employee momentum. We need to think of how best to use the components of capability to create the best possible employee momentum accelerators.

for attitudes and skills, they are part of capability and senior management needs to think of their role as human accelerators.


In summary, the path from business objective to business impact – that is success of otherwise or return in investment – is mediated by capability and employees, as shown below.

While capability is more than just the employees, if the employee link is poor, damaged or broken, the organisation will suffer. Conversely a strong employee link will give momentum to capability towards the desired business impact. Everything that we’ll be discussing in the next blogs when considering capability will factor in human acceleration. We’ll call this the employee momentum perspective. I would love to read your thoughts on this matter.

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