Capacity Building Self-Assessment Tool

Organizational knowledge and skills consist of the essential expertise and competencies needed to perform your organization’s early learning work. Think of this as the organization’s know-how. For each level of an organization, this will look different. At the frontline, this may include understanding and application of effective practices, decisionmaking, performance tracking, and cultural competence. For managers and administrators, it may include knowledge and skills related to leadership, systems thinking, management, critical analysis, policymaking, workforce development, and change management.

Using systems thinking

Benchmark of Capacity:
High Level in Place
Benchmark of Capacity:
Moderate Level in Place
Benchmark of Capacity:
Basic Level in Place
  • The organization has the ability to see the whole ecosystem.
  • The organization has the ability to help groups of people see the larger system so they can build a shared understanding of complex problems.
  • The organization has the ability to foster reflection and creativity and generative conversations.
  • The organization has the ability to examine its thinking, see the underlying assumptions that can be carried into any conversation, and appreciate how mental models may limit staff.
  • The organization has a clear understanding of the whole system but is not yet moving groups of people to a shared understanding of complex problems.
  • The organization has the ability to reflect and think creatively and test assumptions.
  • The organization understands the concept of systems thinking but has not had the opportunity to practice in settings with a group of people.

Incorporating a distributed leadership perspective

Benchmark of Capacity:
High Level in Place
Benchmark of Capacity:
Moderate Level in Place
Benchmark of Capacity:
Basic Level in Place
  • The organization is able to set new directions through a distributive leadership model, empowering others to lead jointly and manage.
  • The organization is able to shift the group focus from reactive problem solving to cocreating the future.
  • The organization is artful at helping people move beyond just reacting to problems to building positive visions for the future in a joint approach.
  • The organization understands the concepts of a distributed leadership perspective, such as leading and managing from multiple places within a system and not just from formal designated leadership positions.
  • The organization empowers others to share leadership.
  • The organization has practiced in real-life situations but is not yet able to move groups beyond reacting to problems.
  • The organization understands the concepts of a distributed leadership perspective, such as leading and managing from multiple places within a system and not just from formal designated leadership positions.
  • The organization empowers others to share leadership.
  • The organization has not had very many opportunities to practice in real-life situations.

Using strategic thinking

Benchmark of Capacity:
High Level in Place
Benchmark of Capacity:
Moderate Level in Place
Benchmark of Capacity:
Basic Level in Place
  • The organization possesses keen and exceptional ability to synthesize complexity.
  • The organization makes informed decisions in ambiguous, uncertain situations.
  • The organization develops strategic alternatives and identifies associated rewards, risks, and actions.
  • The organization quickly assimilates complex information and is able to distill it to core issues.
  • The organization welcomes ambiguity and is comfortable dealing with the unknown.
  • The organization sometimes or often develops robust strategies.
  • The organization is able to cope with some complexity and ambiguity.
  • The organization is able to analyze and periodically generate strategies.

Executing the work

Benchmark of Capacity:
High Level in Place
Benchmark of Capacity:
Moderate Level in Place
Benchmark of Capacity:
Basic Level in Place
  • The organization has an extremely capable set of individuals who bring exceptional implementation skills.
  • The organization is culturally competent, reliable, loyal, and highly committed to the project’s success and to making things happen.
  • The organization often goes beyond call of duty.
  • The organization has a capable set of individuals who bring complimentary skills to the organization.
  • The organization is culturally competent, reliable, and committed to the project’s success and to making things happen.
  • The organization has a capable set of individuals, but they do not have all the skills or abilities necessary for the project’s success.

Valuing equity and diversity

Benchmark of Capacity:
High Level in Place
Benchmark of Capacity:
Moderate Level in Place
Benchmark of Capacity:
Basic Level in Place
  • The organization has widespread knowledge and skills for equity and diversity practices, such as the following:
  • Work groups or staff positions in place to implement equity policies;
  • Ongoing training and dialogue among staff and management to help make cultural competency and equity a part of standard operating procedures;
  • Staff accountable for activities that support equity policies; and
  • Data tracking those who are benefiting from services and those who are not.
  • The organization has shared understanding for equity and diversity policies, but they are not fully implemented. Some practices that may be in use are as follows:
  • Work groups or staff positions in place to implement equity policies;
  • Ongoing training and dialogue among staff and management to help make cultural competency and equity a part of standard operating procedures;
  • Staff accountable for activities that support equity policies; and
  • Data tracking those who are benefiting from services and those who are not.
  • The organization has shared awareness of equity and diversity, but practices are not in place.