The Performance Gap

The Performance Gap

Turning good ideas into action in this modern world is extremely difficult and often does not happen. How many times have you reflected on something and wished you had done what you had thought you might do at the time. How many times have you done nothing about an idea which then makes someone else rich and famous? But what is it that causes that performance gap between thought and action?

The human race is naturally reserved and averse to change hence when it comes to new ideas we are often pessimistic; the media ensures we are constantly bombarded with bad news and we are not encouraged by bureaucracy and regulations not to take risk. Some of us in our soft and comfortable society are not even able to recognise true failure and therefore unable to sustain a risky venture for the required gestation period. The motivation to succeed is crucial to closing the performance gap and it has to be dominant over the fear of failure. Positive thinking creates positive outcomes.

Yet failure always precedes success think about the UK’s great inventors Thomas Edison, George Stephenson, Alexander Graham Bell, James Watt, and James Dyson. The industrial revolution would never have happened without a positive ethos and attitude no spinning jenny, no steam engine and no railway.  Failing has to be seen as a positive factor rather than a sign of weakness and incompetence and the domain of lesser beings. Failure has to be accepted if not encouraged as long as the necessary lessons are drawn from it. Expecting and exploiting failure is key to success and closing the performance gap.

The speed of life is a critical factor, nowadays with modern communications, and productivity expectations. Time is precious and without rituals and discipline many ideas quickly fade into the past and disappear until they are reflected upon. The ability to turn thought into action by planning and “operationalising” an idea is key to closing the gap and that requires great personal discipline.

Leadership, employee empowerment and creating a non blame culture are vital in enabling an organisation to liberate itself from fear. Bosses have to free up and encourage their people to explore, learn and evolve, to fail and then to succeed. All too often in the modern world bosses shy away from failure hence they shy away from progress and in doing that they inevitably allow their competitors advantage. Change is a natural phenomenon and it has existed throughout evolution it is only the pace of it that has increased and it is that pace that has enlarged the performance gap.

Individuals need to develop self leadership to prevent a performance gap appearing in their own lives. They need to develop disciplines in time management, rituals that make behaviour consistent and thorough whilst leveraging time for strategic contemplation and most of all the required relaxation. Clear vision does not occur in a cluttered mind and clear vision offers the chance to exploit opportunity.

Just how many ideas are lost through a lack of energy or discipline, a lack of leadership and empowerment, a fear of failure and a desire to maintain the safety blanket of the status quo? Whatever it is it change is evolution and evolution is here to stay it is just the speed of it that makes the gap more evident. However where possible it is a gap worth closing and we need to “mind the gap”.


By Phil Sampson, Sampson Hall

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