Over many thousands of generations, we humans have evolved a powerful survival technique: the knack to make plans for failure and then come up with strategies and euphemisms that turn these undesired scenarios into smart ideas. We call these “contingency plans,” “just-in-case plans,” or just, “plan B.” Plan for the worst, hope for the best, right?

Or maybe the idea of a safety net or an escape hatch is just too tempting not to ignore in the face of a major risk or challenge. How else would you focus all your will and all your effort on accomplishing a singular goal than to remove the safety net all together?

There is no going back. Retreat is not an option. Like the infamous cry of Captain Hernán Cortés, it’s time to “Burn the Ships!”

Burning Ships

Image Credit: scout.com

Let's Burn

Such was the theme at last week’s company-wide kick-off meeting here at gap intelligence. After 13-consecutive years of company growth, we laid in place a bold business plan for 2017 that takes us one step closer to our vision to become: “The World’s Most Respected Business Intelligence Services and Platform Company.” As you might imagine, after 13-or-so of these annual meetings, I can truthfully say this was one of my favorites!

Of our top initiatives, one I’m really stoked about is a renewed focus on measuring and reporting our company’s key performance indicators (KPIs). Shocking, I know, coming from someone who’s made his living the last 20+ years in marketing research. What really fascinates me most about the idea of measuring performance isn’t so much the geeking-out-with-data part (as awesome as that is), rather it’s the human psychology part. As the old adage goes: “What gets measured gets done.” Humans have another funny tendency to accomplish things–sometimes incredible feats–when they know their performance is being measured. Runners run faster. Jumpers jump higher. Analysts analyze more. You get the point!

gap intelligence gauges its performance using four key indicators, in order of importance:

Timely and Accurate GFD

Onward and Upward

Our philosophy is quite simple. Focus on priorities one through three, and the last (profitability) will come on its own. Our number-one priority as a business is timeliness and accuracy of our data and analysis (a.k.a. GFD). This year’s goal is 100% GFD.  That means the right data at the right time, every time. Once we’ve validated goal #1, our focus shifts to efficiency, which means that every process and every methodology is clear, lean, and documented. With accuracy and efficiency, we are able to take what we do best and make it scalable. For gap intelligence, scalability means producing data and tools that are repeatable, modular, and responsive to our customers’ needs.  

Ironically, profitability is probably the easiest KPI to measure. While the natural tendency would be to make that our top focus, we’re happiest, and our clients are happiest, when we pour all our energy into great freakin’ data that’s produced as efficiently as possible and is scalable to meet the ever growing needs of our clients. After all, why change a formula that has worked consistently for nearly a decade and a half?!

Stay tuned as we reveal more about our 2017 plans, which include new categories, new tools, and new faces. Until then, full steam ahead!

gapper Group Photo