Closing Stakes Gaps

It is one thing to identify a stakes gap but a challenge of a higher order of magnitude to close that gap.  Here's an 8 step process to make closure happen.  

By Brent Filson - 6/2009

1. Select which side of the gap (or gap-bridge) that you want to focus on, i.e.,  the side that will get results. (Do not necessarily focus on your side of the gap.  Their side might be more important for getting results, or bridging the gap may be more important.)  For example, they want to walk, you need for them to run.  In this case, RUN is going to get you the best results.  Focus on the RUN side.

2. Recast your selection as a PROBLEM.  For example, your audience does not want to run. 

3. Define that problem by breaking it down into its defining characteristics.  For example, you may think that they don't want to run because they are lazy.  From your perspective, their laziness is the problem's defining characteristic.  But from their perspective, they might not want to run not because they are lazy but because:  1. They don't have the proper running shoes.  2. They don't feel they are in shape.  3. They fear they will fail.  Same problem, different defining characteristics. 

4. Agree on the defining characteristics of the problem.  If you tell them that they are lazy when, from their standpoint, their major concerns are shoes, physical conditioning, and failure, you cannot motivate them.  Unless and until you and they agree on the defining characteristics of the problem, you cannot close the stakes gap.

5. Test the characteristics of the problem in terms their relevancy or irrelevancy in getting results.  For example, you agree with them that it is not their laziness that prevents them from running but their lack of shoes, lack of conditioning, and their fear of failure.  Are those characteristics relevant or irrelevant in terms of their getting results?  If irrelevant, the audience must understand why.  If relevant, go to Step 6.        

6. Create a process (action steps) to solve the problem that their not wanting to run. The process must get results that provide value.  For instance, tell them that you will give them information on how to run well and the equipment to run well and that you will train them and put them through conditioning exercises, practice sessions, and competitions.

7. Close the gap by having them become committed to your process.  Until they demonstrate such commitment (i.e.,  commitment to the solution to their problem), they are not and cannot be motivated.

8. Monitor the closure as you put them through the process to insure that the gap does not open again.  Be constantly engaged in gap-analysis, gap-closing

Throughout your career, continually be identifying stakes gaps, closing them, and keeping them closed.  In doing so, you’ll boost the effectiveness of your leadership in many powerful ways.

2009 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.



6/2009© The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He is founder and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. – Celebrating 25 years of helping leaders of top companies worldwide achieve outstanding results every day. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get his FREE report "7 Steps To Leadership Mastery"