What is capacity? It’s the margin and space we have for taking on new things. All of us have things on our plate right now—no matter what stage of life you’re in or what your pursuits, we all have things taking up space in our lives. When we reach capacity, it means we don’t have any more room to add new things.
The main challenge is that we are not aware of our capacities. Your people have capacity; you have capacity. Your leaders have capacity. And sometimes, when we go over our capacity, we come to a place in our life where we start feeling what we call stress. Some people call it “stretched.” It doesn’t matter what word you give to it. Here’s the word that makes better sense to me: “overwhelmed.” Overwhelmed means that I have to do more, go more, be more, but I don’t have the capacity to go to where I need to go.
So you have to analyze your capacity issues; you have to analyze not only, “Can we do this?” but “How stressed—how overwhelming—will it be?” I work with organizations on culture issues, whether they are corporate or ministry organizations. I can tell you that what leaders don’t understand is that their staff—their volunteers, their department leaders—all have capacity.
It’s not that they are bad people; not that they’re incompetent people; not that they can’t do the job; it’s not that they don’t have the know-how; it’s not that they don’t want to do it; it’s not that they are not loyal to you; it’s not that they’re not working hard. They are like you. They are like everybody else. You can only stretch them so far.
You have a limit; so does your staff. Keep these limits in mind as you assign, plan, and prioritize for your organization. Where’s your line? Make sure you’re not overwhelming yourself, or those around you.