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You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.”

— Albert Einstein

Often it’s when there’s a new strategic plan that’s aggressive, and it’s pretty evident that major change has to happen to achieve the aspiration.

Sometimes it’s when a department needs to get a whole lot more efficient because it won’t be able to add headcount to meet the coming peak demand for services.

Or it’s when a project is simply falling short of expectations.

In every case, there’s a current state, and a future state.

And a gap.

Mind the gap!

And usually we do exactly that, by executing a gap analysis.

Which is a pretty fancy way of saying that the team spends some time comparing the current situation with the future state.  Comparing actual performance with potential performance.  Comparing current capabilities to projected capabilities.

Through the gap analysis the team identifies what is needed to bridge the gap and achieve success.

This is where the action planning takes place.

This is also where our friend Albert makes his appearance …

Next-level performance almost always requires doing something different.  It rarely just requires doing the same things faster, or even better.  It almost always requires doing things different.  Or doing different things.

The team doing the gap analysis rarely delivers the plans necessary to actually bridge the gap and achieve the future state.

Look; it’s not that the team is a bunch of do nothing know nothing stiffs.  Far from it; they are very often strong contributors, hand-picked for the job — logical, analytical; detail oriented, project planners and operational executioners.  Without them, the current state would be no where near as good as it is.

But there’s trouble in river city when we ask these accomplished left-brainers to conjure up creative, operationally different solutions.

Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for problem.

There’s a problem breaking away from past practice.  There’s a problem rethinking assumptions.  There’s a problem challenging constraints.  There’s a problem thinking outside the box … There’s a problem with thinking differently.

What’s needed is an outside mind or two.  A different perspective.  A different consciousness.  A right-brained, intuitive, unfettered creative thinker.

One — or two — that will help the team learn to see the current-state-to-future-state challenge anew.

Mind the gap analysis.