As a leader, are you focused on the GAP or the GAIN?
So what is the GAP and the GAIN anyway?
The GAP = looking at where we SHOULD be (as individuals or as a team) and comparing that to where we are TODAY… and then, constantly working to close the gap.
The GAIN = looking at where we are TODAY vs. where we’ve actually come from and paying ATTENTION to, APPRECIATING, and REPLICATING progress.
An overemphasis on EITHER the GAP or the GAIN can be UNHEALTHY. However, most leaders focus on the GAP…
This concept was originally promoted by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy in their book The Gap and the Gain.
Let me share a story of how this played out in a real-life leadership scenario…
We worked with a leader who was highly INTELLIGENT and ANALYTICAL—type A, if you will. While she had a big heart, she was a driver and her style could come across as harsh and demanding.
She was frustrated, because she had an employee with a ton of potential. But, this employee lacked confidence, was insecure and easily intimidated.
This leader was MOTIVATED by measuring the GAP of where she was to where she wanted to be and got motivation from closing the gap. But the employee was OVERWHELMED by the GAP.
While the employee constantly compared herself against others or against what seemed like an unachievable goal, she became overwhelmed.
So, after recognizing this as part of the root cause, the leader ADJUSTED her focus with this employee FROM THE GAP TO THE GAIN.
● She became more intentional about sharing the strengths she saw in the employee.
● She made a point to acknowledge when the employee stepped outside of her comfort zone.
● She regularly identified the wins and successes, both small and large.
AS A RESULT, the employee’s confidence grew, she started taking risks and took on more responsibilities. She even improved her ability to hold others more accountable!
As leaders, we must create an environment conducive to growth, for our employees and the organization as a whole. And often, that means focusing on the GAIN and not just the GAP.
As a leader, how do YOU focus on the GAIN with your team members?