4 Steps to Complete a Gap Analysis
It’s finally late Spring and the annual season of rebirth and regrowth is upon us. Or winding down depending on where you are.
Just as the flowers, birds, and bees undergo remarkable transitions, so too are many businesses. The end of one fiscal year brings the beginning of another, and new ideas and transformations abound.
It is at precisely this period of the year when many of my customers approach and remark “How can we be sure we are primed for success in our next planning cycle?”
While there are many answers, the simplest and most effective is the time-tested gap analysis.
What is a Gap Analysis?
A Gap Analysis is an assessment of the current state or performance of your organization. Its purpose? To identify the differences between your current state and your ideal state. The difference between those two states is “the gap.”
To put it simply, imagine you are driving across the country. Somewhere between Atlanta and LA, you stop and wonder if you are still on the right track. But before you can determine how to get to LA, you will need to ensure you know where you are now.
Once that is complete you can properly plot a course for the West Coast. In this case, that distance between points A & B would be “the gap.”
For organizations, understanding where you are now is just as important as knowing where you want to be.
The gap analysis we will explore in this post includes four steps: current state, future state, gap identification, and planning.
Leading from the Center
Download this guide to understand how to optimize power and influence to accomplish your most important initiatives.
How to conduct a gap analysis: A 4-Step Guide
1. Identify the current state of your organization
To begin, we’re simply wrapping our arms around the current state of affairs. Let’s start by outlining the current performance and situation of your organization.
Do you have a strategic plan or Balanced Scorecard? How about the KPI’s you’re tracking throughout the year?
Besides a strategy or scorecard, what other information can you gather about the state of affairs?
Try not to get lost in the minutia- the goal is to get a holistic representation of your current state.
2. Confirm where you want to go
A gap analysis provides an opportunity to make sure that you are on track with achieving the organization’s stated goal(s). It allows for a better understanding of what’s working and not working regarding key objectives.
Most organizations have a set of recurring goals and objectives. But many don’t continue to reevaluate the goals throughout the year.
It’s important to carefully review your goals and recalibrate as necessary. Consider how the marketplace is evolving and ensure your goals still align in today’s broader current state. If the future has evolved, it’s important to rethink your goals.
3. Identify the gaps
Now that you have a firm grasp on where you are currently and where you’d like to be it’s time to start bridging the gap.
At this step, it’s key to be transparent and ask critical questions of your organization. You should continually ask “why?” until the root cause becomes clear.
Why are we currently missing our goals?
Why did we miss our previous objectives?
Why have we decided to change our course, or destination, moving forward?
Why will we potentially miss our new goals?
The answers to these questions will help identify the gaps.
Once you have identified the gap, then it’s time to create a strategy for bridging that gap.
4. Develop ways to bridge the gap
This is the exciting part!
Now that you understand the fundamental differences between the current state and the ideal state- it’s time to chart your course!
Build a roadmap with waypoints along the way (monthly or quarterly) so you can ensure you’re still heading in the right direction.
What will this gap cost us in terms of lost productivity or revenue if left unaddressed? What is at stake here and what resources do we need to succeed in closing this gap?
It’s important to remember: Goals without action steps don’t get done! And just because something has been on your list for a while doesn’t mean it needs revisiting. Be sure actions and strategies align with the overarching goals and where the team would like to head long-term.
You’ll have made it across the gap in no time.
Leveraging a Gap Analysis for successful execution
The goal of a gap analysis is to better understand and document the current state against your goals.
The beauty of the gap analysis is that it can be implemented at any level. Leverage a gap analysis for your organization, department, team, or even personal level.
By taking the time to measure where you are and where you’d like to be, you can chart a new, modified course.
The outcome of a Gap Analysis is a better path towards achieving your goals.
AchieveIt is the platform that organizations use to get their biggest, most important initiatives out of the boardroom and into reality. There are so many great ideas never quite make it across the finish line because there’s no real way to keep everyone on track. You’ve got to:
- Get everything in view in real-time
- Get everyone engaged while also holding them accountable
- Get every possible advantage drawing on the experience and best practices of our execution experts
Ready to improve your plan execution?
Organizations of all types leverage AchieveIt to connect, manage, and execute their most important initiatives. Replace manual processes & siloed systems with interconnected plans in a single, automated platform.