Bridging the Gap Series: Unchangeable Past, Present Reality and Desired Future

How To Help Your Business Gain Traction® By Bridging Organizational Gaps

Organizational Gap #2 – Unchangeable Past, Present Reality and Desired Future

In the last article in this Bridging the Gap series, we talked about the overarching gap that so often exists between the owner, managers and frontline workers and how you can bridge that disconnect. In this article, I want to discuss the gap between what’s happened in the past, where you find yourself today and where you hope to be a few years from now.

Let’s start with the past – the unchangeable past – that could very well be holding you and your team back from reaching the potential you’re capable of. We’re not gonna spend much time here because well… you can’t change it anyways. If there are things that have happened (or not happened) in the past that you regret you’ve got to let go of them but most importantly LEARN from them! One of my mantras in life is the quote

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn”

John C Maxwell

This is such a simple but powerful message that not only does he use this phrase often but he actually wrote an entire book on the subject which you can get here. Henry Ford said, “failure is just an opportunity to begin again more intelligently”. Colin Powell said, “there are no secrets to success. It’s just the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure”.

When working with my clients one of the tools I teach them from the EOS® (Entrepreneurial Operating System) Toolbox is called a Clarity Break. This is a time to get out of the day-to-day and quietly focus undistracted to think, reflect and plan. Reflecting is such a powerful but often overlooked way to spend time and learn from our past.

Okay, so now that we’ve learned from the past we need to get grounded on where we are today – our present reality. One of my favourite podcasts is The Brian Baffini Show and one of my favourite quotes that he often cites is

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a GIFT and that’s why we call it the PRESENT”


I start with this first of all because I’m writing this on Thanksgiving weekend but also because it’s so important to understand that life is about the journey, not the destination. Regardless of what’s gone right or wrong, be thankful for what you have TODAY! Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t strive for more and to be the best you can be so let’s talk about where you want to go and what you hope to achieve!

This is my favourite aspect of bridging this gap – your desired future – because this is one of The Six Key Components™ of your business, your Vision!

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”

Bill Gates

I believe this with all my heart but like most people sometimes find that looking 10 years out just seems so far. I listened to a talk by Gino Wickman – creator of EOS – at the EOS Virtual Conference in May of this year. He talked about 10 Disciplines for Managing Human Energy and the first one is to “shift to a 10-year mindset”.

When working through The EOS Process with clients to help them implement EOS in their business one of the first things we do is to help them clarify their Vision and then help them gain Traction® on achieving that Vision! We help them clarify their Vision using a simple tool called the Vision/Traction Organizer or V/TO for short. One of the questions we ask them to answer what is your 10-Year Target™, where do you want to be 10 years from now? The first step to achieving that goal is to get crystal clear on what it looks like. Once you’re clear on where you want to go you need to break it down a bit. Next, you’ll want to clarify your 3-Year Picture™, what does the organization look like 3 short years from now. The next step is to break that down again and get clear on your 1-Year Plan™ by setting 3 – 7 goals for this coming year. Don’t go crazy and set 37 goals because you’ll likely not achieve any – Less is More!

Okay, the last part of achieving that desired Future – your Vision – is to gain Traction by actually making a plan to achieve the vision. We do this using two powerful tools and disciplines; the first is by settingRocks.  Rocks are the most important priorities for the next 90 days creating a 90-Day World™ for the organization. The second discipline is by getting together with your key leaders every 90 days to review the past quarter, make sure everyone’s still on the same page with your vision and then setting new priorities for the next 90 days. Sounds simple right? IT IS as long as you actually do it and follow the process!

And that my friends is how you bridge the gap between the unchangeable past, your present reality and your desired future!

In the next article we are going to dive into solving issues…at the root!  If you’re like most organizations you have lots of issues with long discussions but rarely seem to come up with great solutions…we’re going to help you bridge that gap!  Then, in the last post in this series we’re going to address how to solve the disconnect between what you feel are the objectives, the actions you see people taking and the unintended results the ensue.

Jon Weening

Jon Weening

I have two passions that are the driving force behind my work; the first, to help business owners and leadership teams become their best and the second – a natural result of the first – to help create fulfilling and engaging work places for their teams.

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