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Skill Will Matrix

A straight forward technique for analysing how

members of a team need to be led and managed
to secure their optimum performance within the
context of a piece of work or project
• To inform decisions about how best to
lead and manage individual members
of a team to secure optimal
performance within the context of a
specific project
The Skill Will Matrix
Follower Advocates
Resisters Blockers

Key Questions
• For the SKILL Dimension
– What level of relevant skills does this person currently
have (in relation to the expectations of the project /
• For the WILL Dimension
– What level of motivation does this person have for
securing the outcomes of this project /programme and / or
for working as a team and / or for ensuring that they
perform optimally?
Planning Matrix
Team member Skill Will Classification Strategy to secure optimal performance
When Would You Use It?
• At the planning stage of a project / programme
• As a leadership team to inform a leadership strategy:
how to secure all team members as advocates for the
project / programme and to ensure their optimal
• As a leadership team to think through how leadership
is demonstrated / what it means etc
Are There Any Rules?
• Individual members of the leadership team
are required to justify the classification of
each team member. What evidence do we
• An agreed strategy for each team member
that the whole leadership team signs up to,
and possibly plays an active part in, is
Resources required
• 1 sheet of flip chart paper with the Skill Will
Matrix drawn up and something to stick it onto
the walls
• ‘Sticky notes’ each with the names of a team
member on
• 1 sheet of flip chart paper with the Planning
Matrix draw on
Ground Rules
• A Facilitator should always help the Team to work through the
• Everyone is on equal footing, i.e. no hierarchy
• Everyone freely participates
• Focus on the evidence we have to inform the Skill Will classification
• Focus on the strategies that we have known to work in the past
when completing the Planning Matrix, but also think out of the box!
Roles & Responsibilities
Facilitator Members of the leadership team
Does not provide any answers – complete Works through the process under the guidance of
objectivity is critical the facilitator

Ensures everyone’s view is heard Listens to the view points of others, their evidence
and their view about leadership effectiveness
Might be the team leader, a member of the team
or depending on sensitivities, someone who has Works collaboratively with other members of the
not been involved may be more appropriate team to arrive at a consensus solution
1. The Facilitator outlines the purpose of the activity – “to arrive at a leadership
plan to secure optimal performance from members of the
project/programme team.”

2. The Facilitator outlines how the process will unfold, and sets the ‘Ground
Rules’ (see separate slide).

3. The Facilitator selects a ‘Sticky note’ with the name of a team member on it
and asks the leadership team the ‘Key Questions’ to get their views about
the allocation to a quadrant of the Skill Will Matrix and their reason. The
Facilitator supports the group to move towards a consensus and then
places the ‘Sticky note’ in the appropriate quadrant.

4. The Facilitator repeats stage 3 with each project team member.

5. The Facilitator completes columns 1 and 2 of
the Planning Matrix
6. The Facilitator supports the group to agree a
strategy to secure the optimal performance of
each team member and records this in the
Planning Matrix
Critical Questions for the Leadership Team
The aim is to ideally have a team of strong Advocates. At the
very least, however, for the project to be successful there
needs to be a critical mas of Advocates.
•How do we move specific individuals from where they are now to
being an advocate? Even the Advocates need be thought about
carefully - they might all 'burn out’!
•Can the advocates be used to do some 'shifting' of the resistors and
•How can this be managed and supported?
Secret Sauce
• The calibration for each team member is relative to the others on the chart, i.e.
– Does this person (on the whole) have a greater or lesser level of skill or about the same?
– Is this person (on the whole) as committed to securing outstanding outcomes from the project /
programme through their own performance, or about the same?

• If the group doesn’t agree straight away on the Skill Will Matrix classification for
a team member it’s important to press individuals for their evidence base and
then to facilitate a debate.

• Much value is derived from contested positions as it drives out fundamentals

regarding leadership and managing.
Secret Sauce
• Spend time on driving out the most effective strategies for inclusion
in the Planning Matrix. Challenge ‘this is what we usually do’ and
ask for evidence if impact/effectiveness.
• It’s ideal if the participants through the facilitation generate ideas re
'shifting' the blockers and resisters. There can be some link made
here with Leadership Styles. This link provides a theoretical
– Question for the participants: which style(s) would be most appropriate for the people
in the four quadrants of the Skill Will Matrix?