No company, organization, or team will sustain long term success without improvement. If a hockey team keeps the same players with the same tactics, over time other teams will pass them with better players and superior tactics. Companies are no different. Companies who rely on the same performance year after year will gradually fade away into the oblivion.

A year from now you may wish you had started today.

Taken as a whole, companywide improvement can easily be overwhelming. How does an entire company improve? Where does a company have to focus in order to realize improvement? The good news is that company improvement isn’t reliant on the company as whole, but the individuals who make up that company. A hockey team doesn’t improve its skating; it’s the player who makes the effort to skate faster. The player that works on making his/her slap shot more accurate contributes to the team being better offensively. The word “improvement” itself tends to be a nebulous and intimidating term. However, “improvement” is really goal setting, which is a heck of a lot easier to swallow.

So the recipe for companywide improvement is individual goal setting. Pretty easy, huh?

One of my favorite applications created by the gap intelligence team is one that our clients will probably never see. is a homemade repository for goal creation and follow-up. follows the template that gappers use to create and manage their goals for constant improvement. gap intelligence’s goal setting template is stolen from a collection of sources, but is largely credited to Manager-Tools, the absolute gold standard in management resources.

Goals screenshot

Step One: Create a SMART Goal

SMART goals may seem simple in theory, but goals absolutely need to follow this guideline if the gapper wants to see meaningful improvement.

  • Specific – goals must be specific (I will get better at shooting vs. I will make 95% of my shots)
  • Measurable – things that are measured get done (I will get better at shooting vs. I will make 95% of my shots)
  • Agreed Upon – goals must be agreed upon by managers and gappers alike. When given a goal that seems impossible, the recipient will rarely try to achieve it
  • Relevant – in order for a company to improve, individual goals need to contribute to the company’s overall initiatives
  • Time Bound – goals given a never ending deadline, never get done

Step Two: Choose Some Resources

Rarely can a person improve without help from outside sources of information, expertise, and guidance. When creating goals, gappers and managers brainstorm on the resources the gapper will reference to help achieve their goal. While a hockey player can use a coach to learn how to shoot more accurately, gapers can take a course, read a book, reference a YouTube video, find a mentor, or hire a consultant to help them achieve their goals. The key is to identify two or three resources to help achieve a goal and focus on them.

Step Three: Establish Milestones and Check-In Dates

Goals screenshot

Based on your resources and goal deadline, gappers and managers will create a series of milestones to set a management cadence of work to achieve the goal over time. One could set milestones to read one chapter a week of a twelve chapter book for a quarter. Concurrently, busy managers can easily lose track of their team member’s goals, by setting up agreed upon check-in dates everyone knows what milestones will be reviewed when.

Long term company growth and success can be a daunting task at the surface level. However, company performance is not one vague initiative but a collection of individual goals that contribute to the organization as a whole.

As always in business, people make the difference….and**

**We like to share our toys, let us know if your team is interested in using