Businesses home in on specific purposes. To achieve results and stay on track, capabilities must be well established within both the company and individual members. Capability development strategy is the backbone of what one organisation can achieve long term.  

A McKinsey survey of 1,240 business leaders have found that 80% acknowledge capability building is extremely important to the long-term growth of their business. This is a figure increase of 21% since pre-pandemic research. 

Developing internal skillsets and tools should be the priority of any organisation. To help brands select the correct capability development frameworks, here is a comprehensive guide on the benefits and challenges of investing in your organisation’s internal capabilities developments. 

What is capability development? 

To put it simply, this encompasses the creation or enhancement of a business’ ability to achieve a specific purpose. By progressing these assets, capability development will allow companies to clearly see how it will reach its objectives.  

Business objectives, a result an organisation is aiming to accomplish, are commonly at the centrefold of capability development. Common objectives include to maintain or increase profits, enhance the quality of a product or service, and more. Establishing what the objective and end goal of the capability framework will be is a strong start. It will provide an outline of principles, practices and perspectives on how individual business capabilities are defined. 

Within our company, we use SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals. This ensures that we can track and measure activities from our capability development plans. Along with the SMART goals, other tools can help to define your company’s growth path: from SWOT and TOWS analysis; to in-depth interviews and observations. Your internal resources, capacities, and leadership determine the methods you will select to set your capability development goals. 

Why is it so crucial to develop business capabilities? 

Capabilities have developed in line with businesses themselves evolving. Especially in the wake of the events of 2020, organisations have recognised that they need to transform their foundations.  

The number of UK business closures in the 3rd quarter of 2021 had increased by 50% on the previous year. Being aware of more brutal consequences, such as failure, only emphasise the value of capability building. Taking quick actions to develop capabilities soon after things start to shift is a crucial working element of the recent years. 

capability framework

So much has changed: customer behaviours; hybrid working; attitudes to work; and more. It is imperative for businesses to adapt to the new world to be able to stay in the game. 

Although, this constant development was integral even before the unprecedented whirlwind of events that shook the world in the back end of 2019. A business, like anything in life, cannot and should not stay stagnant. It is not sustainable. Change is a key factor in growth of any scale. 

Not only is this development crucial for your business on a larger scale, but, importantly, on an individualistic level too. A capability development strategy will also act as a role model for personal development. It will develop what your employees can do, and in turn develop the business. This starts with advancing your team’s skillsets.  

Who does it impact internally?

Your company is the home of a collective of many different skillsets and personalities. Each member of your team is capable of different things. To develop what each of them can do will also lead to independent transformation. Even from your fresh starters, developing capabilities from the ground up will advance your business and its processes.  

Advancing these capabilities will add on to your employee’s character – overall making your workforce more humane. This development will ensure the team’s collective and independent growth. The effectiveness in their business roles will be sure to progress in line with these development programs too. 

Additionally, the networks created between employees through capability frameworks connect various teams and corners of the company. Connecting through capability development is a sure-fire way to get all areas of the business talking. Not only that, but it will help those who need it become capable of connecting with others. Furthermore, making the workforce more humane, and aiding your employees in their own personal developments. 

No matter where their position lies, they can be involved in the foundations of the organisation from the get-go. Their humane aspects and individual capabilities are tied into the business model. Everyone is included and valued. 

Developing capability frameworks  

Getting a whole cohort of individuals on the same path of knowledge and abilities can be a challenge. To combat this, capabilities need to work together in one strategised system – a framework. Essentially, a plan is needed to see how the business will develop their aspects (and, in turn, their employees). 

A capability framework is usually tailored to each business. It’s typically centred on what the business requires, and what the employees can bring to the table. Essentially, a framework is a strong foundation of the workforce’s performance processes. 

Presenting these frameworks can take many different forms, depending on what the business’ capabilities require. However, they often have a few defining features

  • Balancing out technical and soft skills 
  • Defining the progression of your employees’ proficiency levels 
  • Entirely unique to one business 

All in all, these frameworks define behaviours, skills, and knowledge required at your organisation for success. They are also often used to recruit, manage performance, and create internal mobility. Business objectives are linked with employees’ personal performances. 

The framework development process   

The process of developing your capability framework strategy can take many different forms until you reach the final desired result. Not all businesses follow a linear step-by-step routine when creating this framework. However, the process of creating the framework can, and often, still follows this basic procedure

  • Define the internal and external vision   
  • Risk analysis   
  • Make a case (demonstrate benefits and offer concerns)  
  • Develop implementation plan   
  • Build prototype and test  
  • Reflect and analyse  
  • Pivot and continue 

The future of presenting frameworks 

The frameworks are often developed and presented to employees in many different forms. This can encompass methods like interactive workshops, and on-the-job training programmes. However, McKinsey have recently documented that the digitalisation advancement of the world may impact this too. More technology-driven, immersive, micro-learning frameworks may be the new way forward for capability teachings. 

Advancing the future of capability frameworks and how to teach these developments is becoming a necessity. The workforce is changing; this of course means that capability teachings must adapt. 

Overall, the significance of aligning your business’ capabilities is becoming increasingly recognised. Especially with the shift in working behaviours and patterns, the methods to present and teach these frameworks must be reimagined.  

Building capability in a team 

leadership capability

Following the acknowledgment of capability frameworks and how they may be advancing, comes how to build that into your team. As previously discussed, workshops and regular training programmes may be traditional methods to align your team’s abilities. Either way, doing this has been found to be most successfully engrained into your employees with training and skill-development programs.  

Despite this knowledge, 29% of employees remarked that their companies have not changed training budgets to accompany this. In fact, it was found that only 11% increased their budgets. Training programs to put forth a business’ capability frameworks have been proved to be effective in improving business performance. So why not put more energy into aligning your team to equal business success? 

Building long term capabilities that are adapted to each team is crucial. Utilise training programs, mentoring and support to ensure your teammates are on the same page. Where their abilities to meet these frameworks are achieved, the business can and will progress too. 


When stripped back to basics, we can understand that business capabilities define what a company embodies and concentrates on. We have already, in the last few years, been exposed to how greatly elements can change. Businesses and what their processes are, are no different to this fact.  

Capability development, therefore, is crucial for business growth. Even progressing your employees’ performance, connections and abilities falls under this umbrella category. Capability development is the underlying vitality that should be prioritised.  

With this in mind, it is so significant to invest more effort and time into those programs that embed these advancing capabilities into your team. The key word is development: where the world develops, business capabilities develop alongside it; meaning the training of your processes must develop; to further develop your employees. Overall, you guessed it, your business will develop and flourish.  

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