An assessment reveals where the three-headed hydras of apathy, envy and fear roam.

A readiness and capacity assessment can tell you where the heroes and hydras are.

Dominic Cappello



This twenty-part series introduces you to twenty key terms used in a local mobilizing process that you and your community will require to survive and thrive during colliding crises. The articles will reference those people in positions of power who are fighting to keep a broken status quo.

Concept 11: readiness and capacity assessment

In the era of pandemics and economic disruptions, our best line of defense is ensuring that all county residents have access to the ten vital services for surviving and thriving. This is the grand experiment currently unfolding in New Mexico, mobilizing community leaders and stakeholders around one question and answer.

Question: How percentage of county residents should have access to medical care and other basic services to navigate a chaotic world?

Answer: 100%

100% is a noble goal and one worth striving toward.

Each county committed to 100% will be doing a readiness and capacity assessment, assessing to what degree local leaders and stakeholders are committed to improving the ten surviving and thriving services. This process is done through information interviews, surveys and other tools to answer the question, “Are county residents and their leaders ready for change?”

Readiness is a tricky business. On the one hand, those of us working in the public sector have been taught that before launching any significant initiative, you need to follow a long assessment process to ensure that community leaders, and those who follow them, are ready for change. I agree — and there is an entire field of study called Adaptive Leadership (concept 10) that teaches people how to assess for readiness and measure if an agency, community, city, county or state has the capacity to move in a different direction.

Yet we must also accept that sometimes readiness is about a person being inspired with a virtual lightning bolt — call it an epiphany. And suddenly it becomes clear that immediate change is necessary and it’s time to start mobilizing today, the official assessment process can catch up later.

Not every community is ready. Yet.

Through an assessment process it may also become painfully clear that a county, city or community does not yet have the capacity for significant change. That is one of the most disappointing and frustrating aspects of the work. It doesn’t mean important work can’t be done. It does mean you are navigating a little society controlled by three-headed hydras who will do everything in their power to block your efforts. It’s here you must be on special alert for the hydra head of Apathy, oozing charm while he allows the heads of Envy and Fear to obstruct.

In times of crisis, fast thinking and acting might be required to save lives.

The point is that we need to be both data-driven and thoughtful about our process as we begin to initiate change, assuming an opening for change exists. We begin a 100% Community initiative, at least in the research phase, with the starting point given to us. That point is where the hearts and minds of county leadership are today. In every society, whether a tiny village or sprawling city, there’s a logical (if sometimes winding) path to guide you and set you up for success.

Ready to do what’s needed, not what’s easy

100% Community is focusing on improving systems, which will require taking on some big infrastructure projects and building the foundation of key services that allows all our systems of care, safety and learning to work for our communities. We are not here to tinker around the edges of health disparities and lack of vital services. What we propose is only possible because of extraordinary collaboration and a commitment to a shared vision and goals.

Is your county ready? We have the tools to answer that. The most important question is, are you ready?

See 100% Community, Chapter 9: Readiness and Radically Altering Course

The future is what we make it. Join the evolution.

Please excuse any typos as I construct an article at 3am on only one cup of Joe. These stories are mine and mine alone. I do not represent any organization here. If one of my illustrations looks like a real human or three-headed hydra, that’s total coincidence. Words and images ©Dominic Cappello but share with everyone you know. Questions? Answers await you here:



Dominic Cappello

A NY Times bestselling author, social justice activist, Oprah guest, co-author of Attack of the Three-Headed Hydras, 100% Community and Anna, Age Eight.