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Outlook 2023: Organizational Capability


Sonya Patel

Date Published

Feb 14, 2023
7 minute read
2023 Organizational Capability

Our consultants saw demand for Organizational Capability (OC) support increase over the course of 2022. With many workplaces still in a state of transition we expect that demand to continue as we move through 2023. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the factors driving this demand and what we expect to see in the future. And if you need a refresher on OC, take a look at my colleague Hans Manzke’s recent piece on how The Clearing approaches the multiple disciplines that comprise organizational capability.


How 2022 Organizational Capability Trends are Shaping 2023

We heard the phrase “doing more with less” frequently in 2022 – and nowhere was it more common than in our organizational capability work. Our teams observed organizations still coping with the residual effects of the pandemic and employees; placing more focus on balancing their lives between work and home; and people leaving jobs at unprecedented rates. At a macro level, these are things that have changed the culture of our nation. At a micro level, we observed their impact on numerous businesses. As a result, we saw high demand from our clients to support them in efforts across the OC spectrum.

With the volume of people leaving organizations and the pace at which organizations are trying to keep up with their customer demands out of balance, organizations are looking for external support to support them in navigating the new, complex environments they are seeing. To that end, in 2022 our OC experts helped numerous clients with their organizational strategy, employee engagement and retention, and related reorganizations in order to meet increasing customer demands while countering personnel changes and shortages.

We expect to see this trend continue in 2023.


How The Clearing Helps Leaders Establish Organizational Stability

We support one organization that has had multiple leadership changes in recent years. This has created uncertainty throughout the organization and a perception from staff that the work they do is undervalued and unimportant. At the same time, they are experiencing demand signals from their customers that what they are doing is both important and needed. While the team takes pride in what they’re delivering, we discovered the leadership changes have left them feeling fragmented and lacking direction.

Now, the organization has a new leader in place, who wants to build on the good while working with their team at all levels to set a new direction. To that end, our team interviewed key leaders to identify what is working really well, what would further enable them to capitalize on their strengths, and reviewed their existing communications. We are also working with organizational leadership on ramping up strategic, proactive communication – particularly around those positives that are already happening. The more employees hear how their contributions matter and how their input makes a difference in moving the organization forward, the more empowered they feel to consider outcomes in terms of possibility instead of constraints.


2023 In-Demand Organizational Capability Services

I believe three areas will account for most of The Clearing’s OC demand in 2023:

Organizational Design. As organizations continue to reshape to reflect modern ways of working and the desires of the workforce, organizational design continues to be at the forefront of OC needs. These engagements range from organizational structure (i.e., who goes where in an organization to maximize impact, performance, and outcomes) to reimagining team cohesion, relationship building, problem-solving, and innovation to better meet the needs of team members no longer working from the office five days a week.

Change Management and Strategic Communication. We believe these two go together. First, successful organizational design requires strong change management – both in developing and implementing the strategy and managing those efforts. Second, it is exceedingly rare to find an organization that believes they are nailing communications. Sometimes we hear this directly from the leaders we work with, sometimes employees, and sometimes customers. Regardless, a proactive communications approach that ensures stakeholders at all levels feel informed is critical to change buy-in and success. In fact, my colleague Angela Radke recently wrote about the key role communications played in a successful workplace transformation for a major urban transit authority.

Organizational Strategy. Strategy is about helping an organization respond to a moment or challenge in a responsible, forward-thinking manner that meets their needs now and prepares them for the future. And because organizational challenges impact whole organizational systems, The Clearing’s cross-solution capabilities leave us uniquely situated to tailor strategy, customer experience, leadership, culture, and workplace expertise together to meet any demand.


Where Leaders Are Upskilling Teams in 2023

Collaboration and developing organizational resilience are two areas I believe will continue to receive attention.

Based on my experience, collaboration has become both easier and harder. In some ways, we are more connected than ever. Between smartphones, new project management tools, and digital communication platforms like Slack, staying connected to one another has gotten easier. However, even the best tools can’t overcome a team that isn’t on the same page. When you’re not seeing your teammates face-to-face every day, a lot of the little details you pick up when working together are lost. Naming this and determining new ways to work in a given environment is a skill set that needs refreshing, especially in a rapidly shifting world. And remember, when it comes to collaboration it’s not all hard skills. As my colleague Theresa West explained, soft skills such as communication and how to set boundaries in a world where work and home increasingly bleed together are equally important.


My Advice to Federal Leaders Entering the New Year

Take a moment to truly rest, reflect, and ask your teams to do the same thing. It cannot be oversaid enough.  Leaders are running so fast that they often miss the opportunity to do it better, thoughtfully, and patiently in service of doing it faster. Slowing down, reflecting, and reorienting will yield a better result.

It’s easy to read the news and think every modern workplace is thriving in a hybrid, so yours will, too. However, every workplace is not the same. Different people, different missions, and in the case of many of our clients, different security protocols. Declaring your workplace a hybrid without doing the groundwork on what kind of hybrid model will best serve your organization is a great example of missing the opportunity to think strategically and set your organization – and people – up for long-term success.

If you’re interested in hearing more about what our teams are expecting when it comes to organizational capability in 2023 or are looking for a partner to help your organization take the right next step, please reach out. I’d love to answer questions or chat about how The Clearing can help. You can reach me anytime at