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Building Personal Capital

What Is Personal Capital?

Personal capital is your ability to make a difference in any undertaking. It's made up of two components:

  • Processing ability
  • Leverage

Processing power is the ability of a person to transform ‘givens’ into ‘desireds’. It requires thinking and doing and relies on your energy, character, knowledge, and skill. The less ‘givens’ (resources) provided and the more difficult the ‘desireds’ (final result) are to produce—the greater is the demand on a person’s processing power (Vitalo 1998). The more processing power you have, the more your results are a function of you. The highest level of processing power is to create something out of nothing.


Your Processing Power in Action

Imagine you start a new job. Your assignments will be new and you will need coaching to get the work right. The results you produce are partly due to your coach (a resource). As you build your know-how, you will do the same task without coaching (less resources) and produce the same result. The result you produce is no more a function of you alone. Your processing power has increased.

The second part of personal capital is leverage. Leverage raises the productivity of others by their acquiring and using your expertise. It amplifies your processing power through others. Demonstration and coaching are two ways in which you leverage your capabilities. You also leverage your capabilities by producing new knowledge and sharing it with others. The better you are able to generate new knowledge through learning and the more proficient you are in representing your knowledge and transferring it to others, the greater is your leverage.






Your Leveraging Ability in Action

Imagine a new employee starts in your work area. Her first task is to prep the base plates used for mounting the statues your company sells. Her task is to drill a set of holes that must be precisely located on each plate. When you had that job, you learned that you could reduce your errors by constructing a jig that fit over the plate and correctly identified where the holes should be drilled. You watch the new employee and notice that her error rate is like yours used to be. You comment on how frustrating it is to not get the holes correct and offer her the use of the jig you created. She accepts it and her error rate drops. You just leveraged your expertise and benefited another by raising hers.


How Do You Build Personal Capital?

You build it by learning from others and from your own performance and using that learning to improve your next performance. The products we offer provide you knowledge, skills, and instruction so you can benefit from the ideas and methods that others have already developed. For example,

  • Our Kaizen Desk Reference Standard teaches you how to take a given work process and transform it into a better work process and
  • Our Working With Others training program materials teaches you how to add value to other people's ideas while sustaining collaborative relationships.

Why Build Your Personal Capital?

You develop personal capital because you value making a difference in whatever you undertake. The more personal capital you have, the wider the variety of circumstances in which you will be able to take any given resource and produce a desired outcome on your own or working with others in teams. Also, you will be able to take on and complete more complex and novel tasks successfully.


If you seek to be a world-class performer, you need to fully develop and continuously improve your personal capital. If you get satisfaction and energy from seeing your efforts result in tangible benefits for others as well as yourself—then you also want to continuously increase your personal capital. And if you like working with others who have these qualities, you too need to continuously increase your personal capital so that you can fulfill your responsibilities as a team member.