Closing the GAP


There are several ways to keep effective employees motivated
and growing. Marcus Buckingham has spent a number of years pointing us to
maximizing one’s strengths and I heartily endorse (and personally try to use)
his advice and concepts. There’s no doubt in my mind that they work.


There is another way and Ron Potter and I, in our book Trust
, call it GAP. It stands for Growth Achievement Path. Ron lends a GAP story
to the book about a mail clerk, buried in the bowels of a large corporation.
The interesting thing about this employee was his natural affinity and love of
computers but being in the mailroom, he wasn’t exposed to leaders who could
help him. One day Ron brought up this person’s name to the company’s leadership
team and armed with Ron’s recommendation they shifted this person’s
responsibilities and created a path for him that led to not only personal
satisfaction, but also a very positive outcome for the company.

I have personally used GAP and encourage you to try it. To
begin, you need to be aware of your employee’s and their strengths, desires and
dreams (even if the dreams are outside of your unit or organization).

Once you feel you have a good handle on these three
elements, you can, along with the employee, build a “path” that will help them
grow and develop.

Some other tips I’ve learned when using GAP:


  • ·          Both you and the employee need to be brutally honest with each other. That
    takes a solid relationship and frequent conversations. If the employee wants to
    be a ballet dancer and they have two left feet, you need to guide them to a
    different place. Conversely, you need to be open to what the employee is saying
    and not be closed minded in your own prejudices and barriers. It’s a balance
    that takes time, trust and talking.
  • ·         The path should contain some achievable milestones. This is not just
    a good way to measure progress, but it gives the employee a feeling of moving
    forward toward their dream.
  • ·         You need to regularly meet. Don’t start strong
    and let this slide. Keep at it, stay persistent and make it a priority for both
    of you. Remain committed to the path.
  • ·         Make changes if necessary. Sometimes the
    employee sees that their dream needs some tweaking, especially once they begin
    down the path. I’m not talking typical obstacles to achievement, I’m saying
    that sometimes a person begins to do the actual work of the dream and finds out
    that it’s not quite what they expected. In this case, keep talking and
    developing. Your goal is to develop and maximize talent, not just check off

GAP is a wonderful tool for both you and your employees. What
tools or methods do you use to maximize your employees?


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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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