What are Strategic Gaps? Understanding the organization's status and direction versus the vision
“No amount of sophistication is going to allay the fact that all your knowledge is about the past and all your decisions are about the future.” – Ian E. Wilson
Your organization is on a trip to the future.Where it is going right now is the sum total of past decisions and actions, both by organizational stakeholders and those external to the organization.
Furthermore, where your organization will actually be in the future will be affected by additional external influences along the way.Economic changes, demographic trends, actions of competitors, legislation and regulation, environmental impacts and much more in terms of external events can and very likely will affect the organization.
·Just where is the organization now? ·Where is it headed at the moment? ·What’s the best guess as to where it will actually wind up at the end of the planning horizon without intentional management actions? ·What are the major variances between the likely destination and the future offered by the Strategic Vision?Areas to consider to find major gaps include (but are hardly limited to):
Market presence Technology People Leadership Teamwork Procedures Knowledge Experience Financial resources Processes Production capability Reputation Intellectual property (patents, trademarks, etc.)
The bottom line is to identify the critical differences between the current reality as it will play out in the future and the Strategic Vision.What are the big gaps between the where organization is likely to be in the future and the vision without intentional actions by the organizational leaders?
Karl Albrecht writes in The Northbound Train: Finding the Purpose, Setting the Direction, Shaping the Destiny of Your Organization, “Some of the gaps you identify may be fairly simple and may invite straightforward action. Others may be much harder to close. In particular, gaps that arise from deeply rooted aspects of your organizational culture may present tougher challenges than you anticipate. In any case, it is important to take an organized approach to gap analysis, and to make sure you are working on the gaps that have the greatest effect on the ability of the enterprise to implement its strategic success model.”
Revealing the important strategic gaps will enable the development of strategies that will turn the organization on to a course that leads to the Strategic Vision and greater success.