This Week I Learned: Capability, Motivation, Permission [2023–10–27]

Peter Brownlow
Oct 30, 2023
Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

I came across a delightfully simple framework for understanding why any one person doesn’t embrace an action or change.

  • Capability
  • Motivation
  • Permission

If they (who could be you!) are not doing it then they lack one or more of these qualities. That’s it. Thinking about it with this structure takes away a lot of the mystery and tangle from often complicated situations.

It also gives you an order to work through. Trying to motivate them when they aren’t capable will just frustrate them in a really counterproductive way. So will giving all the permission in the world to someone who doesn’t already feel motivated to use it.

This insight came to me from an episode of Fixable, a podcast that I’ve really been enjoying.



Peter Brownlow

Software builder, people manager, topical deep-dive enthusiast