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GAP ANALYSIS REVISITED
Roger Chevalier, CPT, PhD
Gap analysis is an important part of the performance improvement process that fits into the
International Society for Performance Improvementâ??s 10 Standards of Performance Technology,
Standard 5. This article discusses the need to set a reasonable goal to motivate people to close
the performance gap and provide a milestone for measuring progress as the gap is closed. It
also provides insight into the need to identify performance trends that led to the current level of
performance as we define the performance gap.
Our starting point for gap analysis is to determine
the existing and desired levels of performance, and
then set a reasonable goal or milestone for measuring progress in terms of quality, quantity, time, and
cost. At the most basic level, a reasonable goal can be
set for such areas as productivity, waste, sales, service, and customer service. At an intermediate level, a
reasonable goal can be set for such issues as reliability,
calls on warranty, customer retention, or customer
referrals. At the business outcome level, reasonable
goals can be set for profitability and market share. The
reasonable goal serves to show progress in closing the
performance gap.
Another useful aspect of setting a reasonable goal is
that it may serve to better motivate the people who will
do the work to close the performance gap. As an example,
an organization would like to increase its domestic market share from its current level of performance of 10%
to a desired level of performance of 15% in the next 5
years. Senior managers may be motivated by such a large
performance gap, but the people on the line will not be
able to grasp how a gap of that size can be closed. By asking line people to participate in setting a reasonable goal
for one year, they will have ownership of this short-term
FIGURE 1. PERFORMANCE GAP ANALYSIS
FIGURE 2. PERFORMANCE GAP ANALYSIS WITH A
REASONABLE GOAL
GAP ANALYSIS IS AN important part of the performance
improvement process that fits into the International
Society for Performance Improvementâ??s 10 Standards of
Performance Technology, Standard 5: â??Be systematic in
all aspects of the process including: The assessment of
the need or opportunity� (ISPI, n.d.). A performance gap
is typically defined as the difference between an existing
level of performance and a desired level. In reality, this
narrow definition may limit the motivation of the people
who must close the gap and hinder evaluation to determine the impact of a performance intervention.
I first used this limited definition (Chevalier, 1990)
as the basis for a diagram to describe a performance gap
as depicted in Figure 1. I have since added another line
(Chevalier 2003, 2008, 2009) to describe the reasonable
goal that serves as a milestone in closing the performance
gap as shown in Figure 2.
SETTING A REASONABLE GOAL
Performance Improvement, vol. 49, no. 7, August 2010
International Society for Performance Improvement
Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com) â?¢ DOI: 10.1002/pfi.20160
©2010
5
goal (e.g., 1% over the next year) and will work harder to
close it.
The reasonable goal should be stated in terms that the
people doing the work can control. If the overall goal is to
improve profitability, the reasonable goal for manufacturing line people should be set in terms of productivity and
quality. Although improvement in these areas will have a
positive effect on profitability and market share, production people are better motivated by the things that they
actually control.
An interesting application of this idea was presented at
an ISPI Performance Improvement Conference in which
I learned of the goal-setting process that the Netherlands
Olympic swim team used. An article that followed
(Bloem & Vermei, 2005) described how the team wanted
to bring a group of swimmers in the 100-meter freestyle event from 51 seconds to near the world record of
47.84 seconds. The teamâ??s overall performance gap of
3 seconds became a slogan for closing the gap: â??From
51 to 48.�
A gap of 3 seconds can seem insurmountable in the
minds of athletes in an event that takes only 48 seconds,
even if they have 4 years to close the gap. To remedy
this situation, the team set reasonable goals by dividing
the 3 seconds into smaller and smaller intervals, such
as .02 second a week and .004 second per training day.
The measurable outcome of the teamâ??s efforts happened
concretely at the 2004 Olympics in Athens with two of
the swimmers on the 4 ! 100 womenâ??s freestyle relay,
and served as the mental fundamentals for winning the
gold medal in Beijing 4 years later in 2008.
Setting goals that are both challenging and attainable serve to motivate those who must do the work.
Three seconds in 4 years may seem insurmountable, but
.02 second a week was considered reasonable, if also
challenging. Setting a reasonable goal was important, but
it took many other activities to help close the 3 second
performance gap.
FIGURE 3. PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT MEASURED
FROM A SINGLE POINT
that existed before the intervention? Was performance
declining, steady, or already improving? Did the intervention increase the trend that was already there?
Depending on the trend before the intervention, the
various outcomes have different values. A simplified view
of performance trends is shown as Figure 4. If there was
a downward trend before the intervention, an upward
performance is desirable, but leveling the performance
downturn may also show a measure of success. If there
was steady performance before the intervention, then
only upward performance would indicate that the intervention was successful. If there was an upward trend
before the intervention, continued upward performance
may not necessarily be an indication that the intervention added value since performance was already headed
that way.
The best way to determine the trend that precedes
the existing level of performance is to use existing business metrics. These metrics are inexpensive to use since
they are already in place to measure performance. They
demonstrate trends over time, can account for seasonal
variance, and are already accepted by management as
indicators of performance.
TREND ANALYSIS
Another important aspect of gap analysis is found in
establishing trends in performance before the intervention is made. Too often evaluation begins by determining the existing level of performance as a single point in
time. The impact of the intervention is then determined
by the change from that point after the intervention as
shown in Figure 3. The results could be misleading if the
performance trend before the intervention is not known
(Chevalier, 2010).
But how does the evaluation of the result of the intervention change when we know the trends in performance
6
www.ispi.org
â?¢
DOI: 10.1002/pfi
â?¢
AUGUST 2010
FIGURE 4. PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT MEASURED
FROM PERFORMANCE TRENDS
CONCLUSION
Although identifying the current and desired levels of
performance is important, setting a reasonable goal
to measure progress toward closing the performance
gap can be just as important. A reasonable goal, set
in measures that the people who must do the work
can control, can also serve to motivate them toward
closing the performance gap. A phrase used by the
Netherlandâ??s swim team in their goal-setting process was,
â??If you work for them [the goals], they work for youâ?
(M. Bloem and A. Vermei, personal communication,
March 28, 2010).
It may not be enough to define the current level of
performance at a single point in time. Trend analysis using existing data may be necessary to measure how much
impact the intervention had on improving performance.
Using existing business metrics is the easiest way to establish the performance trends that were happening before
arriving at the current level of performance.
One final comment, if the starting point for performance improvement is a perceived opportunity, the
performance gap that should be examined is found in the
organizationâ??s long-range plan. The value of the opportunity
should be evaluated as to how it contributes to closing the
gap between the organizationâ??s present and desired levels
of performance as stated in the long-range plan.
References
Bloem, M., & Vermei, A. (2005, July). The Olympic road to
performance improvement. Performance Improvement, 44(6),
7â??13. [DOI: 10.1002/pfi.4140440604.]
Chevalier, R. (1990, Novemberâ??December). Analyzing performance discrepancies with line managers. Performance
Instruction, 29 (10), 23â??26. [DOI: 10.1002/pfi.41600291007.]
Chevalier R. (2003, Mayâ??June). Updating the behavior
engineering model. Performance Improvement, 42(5), 8â??14.
[DOI: 10.1002/pfi.4930420504.]
Chevalier, R. (2008, Novemberâ??December). The evolution
of a performance analysis job aid. Performance Improvement,
47 (10), 9â??18. [DOI: 10.1002/pfi.20034.]
Chevalier, R. (2009). Analyzing performance: An example.
Performance Improvement, 48 (7), 15â??19. [DOI: 10.1002/
pfi.20090.]
Chevalier R. (2010). The changing role of evaluators and evaluation. In J.L. Moseley & J.C. Dessinger (Eds.), Handbook of
improving performance in the workplace (Vol. 3, pp. 354â??374).
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
International Society for Performance Improvement. (n.d.).
Standards and ethics. Retrieved March 3, 2010, from http://
www.ispi.org/content.aspx?id=418.
ROGER CHEVALIER, CPT, PhD, is the author of the 2008 ISPI Award of Excellence recipient, A
Managerâ??s Guide to Improving Workplace Performance, published by the American Management
Association (2007). He is an independent consultant who specializes in embedding training into
comprehensive performance improvement solutions. He has personally trained more than 30,000
managers, supervisors, and salespeople in performance improvement, leadership, coaching, change
management, and sales programs in hundreds of workshops. His Web site is www.aboutiwp.com.
He may be reached at Roger@aboutiwp.com.
Performance Improvement
â?¢
Volume 49
â?¢
Number 7
â?¢
DOI: 10.1002/pfi
7
Copyright of Performance Improvement is the property of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and its content may not be
copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written
permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.
OL 655 Case Study One: Using Training and Development to Spice Up Business Results Guidelines and Rubric
Overview
This course includes two case studies. These exercises are designed to actively involve you in human resource management decision making and to help you
apply the concepts covered in the course to complex real-world situations. The case studies provide practice reading and give you experience analyzing
employee competencies, planning strategic talent development strategies, and forecasting workforce needs. These exercises also provide practice
communicating your reasoning in a professional manner.
Case Study
You may know McCormick & Company from its flavorings and spices that enhance the taste of appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. You should also know that
training and development play a strategic role at McCormick & Company. Learning is driven by the company strategy. The companyâ??s main strategies include
growing sales, fostering innovation, managing the cost base, and planning for succession.
To ensure that training and development are strategic, the director of learning and development has positioned the training department as a team of
performance consultants who serve the needs of the business. Also, McCormick & Company has emphasized teaching at all levels of the organization, with the
goal of making the company more agile and able to adapt to change and cope with the loss of expertise due to the retirement of baby boomers. Teachers
include trainers and all employees with supervisory responsibility, regardless of their level.
McCormick & Companyâ??s board of directors will provide additional funding for training and development initiatives if a business case is made for additional
financial resources.
Prompt
To answer the prompt below, utilize the following readings:
â??Growing Talent and Sales at McCormickâ?: http://ezproxy.snhu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/227019996
â??Gap Analysis Revisitedâ?:
http://ezproxy.snhu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,url,cpid&custid=shapiro&db=bth&AN=530
96203&site=ehost-live
This weekâ??s textbook reading: Chapter Two of Employee Training and Development
McCormick & Companyâ??s website: www.mccormick.com
If you were the Vice President of Learning for McCormick, how would you approach training and development? Your paper should include the following:
Evaluate the types of training and development initiatives would you create
Design metrics you would use to collect information that allows you to determine and measure the effectiveness of your initiatives
Defend for or against having employees, who are not training or learning experts, teach others as a means to making training and learning more
strategic
Articulation of
Response
Employees Who Are
Not Training or
Learning Experts
Metrics
Critical Elements
Training and
Development
Initiatives
Exemplary (100%)
Submission meets â??Proficientâ?
and extends explanation to
include additional training and
development initiatives
Submission meets â??Proficientâ?
and extends explanation to
include all metrics that would
be used to determine the
effectiveness of the initiatives
Submission meets â??Proficientâ?
and includes additional
suggestions as to why or why
not employees who are not
training or learning experts
make training and learning
more strategic
Submission is free of errors
related to grammar, spelling,
syntax, and organization and is
presented in a professional and
easy-to-read format
Submission has no major errors
related to grammar, spelling,
syntax, or organization
Defends why or why not
employees who are not training
or learning experts make
training and learning more
strategic
Designs metrics of
measurement to determine the
effectiveness of the initiatives
Proficient (90%)
Evaluates and creates training
and development initiatives at
McCormick & Company
Rubric
Submission has major errors
related to grammar, spelling,
syntax, or organization that
negatively impact readability
and articulation of main ideas
Attempts to defend why or why
not employees who are not
training or learning experts
make training and learning
more strategic
Needs Improvement (70%)
Attempts to evaluate and
create training and
development initiative at
McCormick & Company
Attempts to design metrics of
measurement to determine the
effectiveness of the initiatives
Total
Submission has critical errors
related to grammar, spelling,
syntax, or organization that
prevent understanding of ideas
Identifies no suggestions as to
why or why not employees who
are not training or learning
experts make training and
learning more strategic
Does not include any metrics of
measurement to determine the
effectiveness of the initiatives
Not Evident (0%)
Does not include training and
development initiatives
100%
25
25
25
Value
25
Guidelines for Submission: Case Study One must follow these formatting guidelines: double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins, and APA
citations. Page length requirements: 2â??3 pages, not including cover page and references.
Growing Talent and Sales at McCormick
Bingham, Tony;Galagan, Pat
T D; Jul 2007; 61, 7; ProQuest Central
pg. 31
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
GAP ANALYSIS REVISITED
Roger Chevalier, CPT, PhD
Gap analysis is an important part of the performance improvement process that fits into the
International Society for Performance Improvementâ??s 10 Standards of Performance Technology,
Standard 5. This article discusses the need to set a reasonable goal to motivate people to close
the performance gap and provide a milestone for measuring progress as the gap is closed. It
also provides insight into the need to identify performance trends that led to the current level of
performance as we define the performance gap.
Our starting point for gap analysis is to determine
the existing and desired levels of performance, and
then set a reasonable goal or milestone for measuring progress in terms of quality, quantity, time, and
cost. At the most basic level, a reasonable goal can be
set for such areas as productivity, waste, sales, service, and customer service. At an intermediate level, a
reasonable goal can be set for such issues as reliability,
calls on warranty, customer retention, or customer
referrals. At the business outcome level, reasonable
goals can be set for profitability and market share. The
reasonable goal serves to show progress in closing the
performance gap.
Another useful aspect of setting a reasonable goal is
that it may serve to better motivate the people who will
do the work to close the performance gap. As an example,
an organization would like to increase its domestic market share from its current level of performance of 10%
to a desired level of performance of 15% in the next 5
years. Senior managers may be motivated by such a large
performance gap, but the people on the line will not be
able to grasp how a gap of that size can be closed. By asking line people to participate in setting a reasonable goal
for one year, they will have ownership of this short-term
FIGURE 1. PERFORMANCE GAP ANALYSIS
FIGURE 2. PERFORMANCE GAP ANALYSIS WITH A
REASONABLE GOAL
GAP ANALYSIS IS AN important part of the performance
improvement process that fits into the International
Society for Performance Improvementâ??s 10 Standards of
Performance Technology, Standard 5: â??Be systematic in
all aspects of the process including: The assessment of
the need or opportunity� (ISPI, n.d.). A performance gap
is typically defined as the difference between an existing
level of performance and a desired level. In reality, this
narrow definition may limit the motivation of the people
who must close the gap and hinder evaluation to determine the impact of a performance intervention.
I first used this limited definition (Chevalier, 1990)
as the basis for a diagram to describe a performance gap
as depicted in Figure 1. I have since added another line
(Chevalier 2003, 2008, 2009) to describe the reasonable
goal that serves as a milestone in closing the performance
gap as shown in Figure 2.
SETTING A REASONABLE GOAL
Performance Improvement, vol. 49, no. 7, August 2010
International Society for Performance Improvement
Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com) â?¢ DOI: 10.1002/pfi.20160
©2010
5
goal (e.g., 1% over the next year) and will work harder to
close it.
The reasonable goal should be stated in terms that the
people doing the work can control. If the overall goal is to
improve profitability, the reasonable goal for manufacturing line people should be set in terms of productivity and
quality. Although improvement in these areas will have a
positive effect on profitability and market share, production people are better motivated by the things that they
actually control.
An interesting application of this idea was presented at
an ISPI Performance Improvement Conference in which
I learned of the goal-setting process that the Netherlands
Olympic swim team used. …
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