Transitioning from 2018 to 2019: Identifying Business Gaps

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

Member Insights by SSE Advisors

By now, organizations should have started the transition toward 2019.  This transition represents the time to begin prioritizing efforts for 2019 over 2018.  The shift does not mean dropping all things 2018.  However, it does require organizations to clearly identify all gaps, as they will become key initiatives for 2019.  Here are some potential gaps to consider:

  1. Business performance gaps – measuring how well the organization is tracking against identified targets (goals)
    1. Positive performance – These gaps occur when the business is performing better than expected. Positive performance can mask dangerous, underlying currents and give a false sense that “all is well”.  These gaps typically go unnoticed until it is too late, causing negative disruptions once they surface.
    2. Negative performance – These gaps occur when the business is performing below expectations; however, the true concern is when under performance leads to quick fixes. These fixes may achieve acceptable, short-term results, but in some cases, are more likely to address symptoms and not root causes.  Addressing symptoms only, increases the potential for unforeseen traps.
  2. Plan progress gaps – measures how well the organization is tracking against a plan for implementing a defined strategy
    1. Near-term results – Near-term results, in most plans, are set to continue and/or build momentum. They represent opportunities that generate results, usually impacting the 2nd half of the year.  If the organization is not recognizing these types of results, course corrections for 2018 are probably no longer the best alternatives.  These gaps impact this year’s performance and jeopardize the overall progress of the plan.
    2. Long-term results – Long-term results are necessary for building future success. Since these are farther out, the need for continuous progress monitoring is vital.   These gaps are most likely to occur as organizations make trade-offs to address immediate concerns.  When the plan is not progressing toward long-term results, the potential for missed market opportunities heightens, threatening the future success of the organization.

Disruptions, distractions and increased risks are some outcomes of not properly recognizing gaps, which will hinder future success.

Summary

Transitioning from 2018 to 2019 can be difficult as identifying gaps can be a challenge.  Gaps occur when times are good and bad and even when recognized, they can be improperly diagnosed.  With that in mind, here are a few things to remember:

  • Look beyond the metrics – Metrics are results and don’t tell the complete story. Organizations need to understand what drives each metric to know what’s really happening.
  • Focus on root causes – As gaps are identified, organizations need to distinguish between root causes and symptoms. Avoid treating symptoms as this only masks issues until later.
  • Start transitioning now (if your organization hasn’t already) – Don’t get further behind by continuing to focus most efforts on 2018, losing sight on 2019. Prioritize what’s relevant for moving forward.

The time for 2019 is now.  By properly identifying, prioritizing and addressing gaps now, organizations can make 2019 the best year yet and ensure future success.


Anthony McIntosh is President and Founder of SSE Advisors, LLC, a strategic business advisory and consulting firm, focused on developing strategies and plans that help clients build and sustain success.  You can contact Anthony at either anthony@sseadvisors.com (email) or 847-668-1909 (mobile).