Do you set more goals than you actually achieve? There is a reason for this discrepancy, and it might surprise you.
Goal setting is a fun practice, and it actually triggers a dopamine response in your brain. The problem is that your brain doesn’t produce the same response when you’re actually working towards the goal. Working toward a goal requires a lot of legwork, with not a lot of payoff until the end.
This is why it’s important to know before you begin working toward a goal how far away you are from actually hitting it and this is also why it’s important that you continuously measure your progress along the way. You could be extremely close to hitting your goal, but without that dopamine response you had at the beginning, you might find yourself giving up on your goal just before you reach it.
Performing a GAP analysis is a strategic way to understand how far away you are from hitting your goal and what you need to do to hit it. We discuss this topic in our ebook, The 10 Step Arootah Success Formula.
A GAP analysis is essential in helping you hit your biggest personal, professional, or business goals, so let’s take a look at how you would perform one.
- Decide the Measurements for Your Goals
Before performing a GAP analysis, you must determine how you will measure your progress toward your goal. We often encourage our clients to set SMARTER goals to ensure they have the right metrics in place when goal setting.
To be successful in this process, you must determine where you are in comparison to where you want to be and then measure your progress towards achieving the goal based on those data points. Otherwise, you won’t know if you are getting closer or farther away from your goal. It is important to choose specific measurements for your goals so that you can track your progress and know how close you are to achieving them.
- Stick to Objective Data
When you can, try to stick to objective data to measure your goals. For businesses, this might mean looking at job costing, KPIs, revenue, etc. By attaching the measurement process to specific numbers, business owners can easily perform a GAP analysis to evaluate their progress.
If you’ve set a goal to make more sales, then you can easily look at data points such as the number of leads, your marketing budget, your sales force, etc. To close the gap between where you are and where you want to be (your goal), you may have to pull a couple of strings to get more people on the sales team.
Other pieces of objective data for personal, professional, or business goals may include:
- Number of hours you spend exercising each week
- Number of books you read in a month
- Number of new skills you learn in a year
- Number of events you attend each month
- Getting a promotion within a certain timeframe
- Number of certifications you achieve in your career
- Key Performance Indicators throughout a quarter
- Yearly or monthly revenue targets
- Percentage of yearly proceeds donated to charity
- Use Ratings for Qualitative Measurements
It’s important to set goals that you can measure quantitatively, but for certain goals, this kind of measurement is simply impossible. If you want your team to improve their communication or teamwork skills, for example, you will have to use qualitative data to measure their progress.
To measure qualitative progress, you might begin a meeting by explaining the qualifications of an effective meeting to your team. At the end, you might then ask each team member to rank how well they thought the meeting went according to these qualifications. By evaluating the quality of time spent in meetings based on this quantitative measurement, you should be able to get an accurate pulse on whether your team’s communication skills are improving.
Customer experience professionals translate qualitative data into quantitative data by using a Net Promoter Score (or NPS). They take a client’s experience with a company and ask them to rate how likely they would be to refer someone else to that company.
From this data, they can set clear goals to measure their progress. They can easily perform a GAP analysis by comparing their current average NPS and their NPS goal.
- Regularly Examine Your GAP
Throughout the time you’ve given yourself to hit your goal, keep checking in on the GAP. Perform a GAP analysis every week, month, or quarter as needed. From this analysis, you should be able to clearly determine how to close the GAP.
If you’ve set SMARTER goals, you should always have an accurate understanding of how far away you are from hitting your goal. By performing a regular GAP analysis, you should be able to hit your goal within your allotted timeframe.
Remember that, while you can certainly and easily use this practice in business, you can just as effectively use it in your personal life or career. By making your goals measurable, you are one step closer to achieving them.
The Bottom Line
A GAP analysis is essential in helping you reach your biggest personal, professional, or business goals. Goal setting can be such a powerful practice in helping you achieve your mission in life. With a little legwork and regular check-ins, you can improve your chances of meeting your goals.
Goal achievement is part of what inspired us to write The 10 Step Arootah Success Formula. We want to help you achieve your biggest goals with our proven strategy for success. Download your free copy here.
What’s a goal you will be performing a GAP analysis on? Is it a personal, professional, or business goal? Let us know in the comments.