Gaps and Then Needs Analysis?

Focus On the Performance Competences First – Then On the Gaps

I read a post last week that recommended identifying gaps and then conducting a needs analysis.


Whose on First, first?

Gaps – Compared to What?

I guess that if you have a specific issue to solve – then identifying/clarifying the gaps – and then conducting a needs analysis around that would work. If the Gap is slapping you (figuratively) and the Enterprise across your collective face – and it’s that obvious what the ROOT CAUSE is for that symptom (slapping you all)… yeah, then conduct your Needs Analysis.

But clarifying the gaps is “most often” dependent on understanding the ideal performance in the first place. So you “most often” need to get to that fairly quickly – IMO.

Most Often – a favorite weasel phrase (multiple weasels words) of mine.

Here’s the tool I have been using (in a slightly different form) since 1979. Thanks to those colleagues who taught me this – and made me use it on projects.

Ideal Performance

To me means capturing the Areas Of Performance (AoPs – not to be confused with Rummler’s AOPs), and their their outputs, their output measures and the associated tasks – and then doing a gap analysis against that.

A Gap Analysis against the ideal – or what?

Unless your client starts with either the end solution or the symptoms – I would not start there – other than as a a cursory/courtesy pass over – that established some of The Context needed to assess anything against something.

You need some standard – and some understanding about THAT standard ever having been hit.

Or is it a Reach Goal – something “theoretical” and not seen on the planet – yet – and may never be seen if it’s too much of a stretch. And your “Gap” is that no one has hit that theoretical standard – yet/ever.

I think that most often (weaselly) there is more than enough R for the I to move lower performing individuals up to where the top performers are operating.

But your Context (read: situation) may vary.


That’s just the way it is – to generalize – one of my favorite Universal Truths.

Figure out the Performance Competence Requirements – and then Enable Them/That/Whatever.

Whatever you and your Enterprise call that stuff.

I always like to start with Performance – in the Process – and try to steer the conversation back to that as a Starting Point in case we started with Solutions or Symptoms – which almost always happens.

Then determine the needs of all of the enablers of the Process Performance (including the knowledge/skills and/or the other human attributes and the environmental enablers depending on YOUR downstream needs) that are really required – and determine how to address that/them if they are not present enough in terms of quality, quantity and timeliness – by “fixes/solutions” that are perhaps Rooted elsewhere, upstream from the Process Performance in focus.

Always be thinking about those “Provisioning Systems” that may be where the Root Causes may lay.

This next graphic is my “EPPI Model” that portrays those.

Your model may differ.

Resources Available

There are many Resources available for free on this site – and some for a fee (for sale), including my book 6-Pack on PACT.

Check out the Resource Tab – which I have recently cleaned up – here.


Check out the Dick Clark (Richard E. Clark) video – 26 minutes – that is posting here in/on this Blog – in 2 hours – Noon – East Coast Time – on

GAP ANALYSIS” – set your smartphone alarm!

And take 26 minutes today – or soon – to listen to/watch Dr. Clark.

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