Poor performance, whether it is your own or someone else’s can drain the life energy out of any organization. Zap the Gaps - Target High Performance and Achieve It! by Ken Blanchard, Dana Robinson and Jim Robinson looks at how to eliminate bad performance and improve productivity in the workplace.
Written in the standard Blanchard style, the lesson is told in story format. The lead character Bill, has been called into the office of his new boss because of poor performance in his Customer Service division. Customer Service Reps taking too long to answer, repeat calls received due to first call non-resolution and call abandonment rates are just some of the issues facing Bill and his team. Tasked to improve the numbers because “Dyad does not hire junk,” Bill begins his quest.
Like most Blanchard books, our hero “accidentally” happens upon a mentor who has already experienced the problems that Bill is going through. With a series of meetings, the mentor helps to turn Bill’s problem around. Pretty standard Blanchard fare.
I did not find this book to be Blanchard’s best work. I found the lessons to be a bit confusing and not up to Blanchard’s usual high standards. For example, one lesson was as follows:
“Everything we are currently doing equals the “is.” The “is” is where the gap is. Analyze the “is”
While it’s apparent that the author is relying on his usual ability to impart profound, thought provoking statements, this thought leaves the reader asking “what” rather than a true understanding of the point Blanchard is trying to reach. Zap the Gaps is filled with more of these confusing statements.
In fairness, not all of his statements are as confusing. The best line was stated very simply, “you gotta wanna.” What does this mean? It means that no one will be your biggest advocate for succeeding in the workplace then you. It’s up to you to get the training you need in order to get where you want to be.
There is a more interesting underlying tale besides improving performance. Bill begins the story feeling that Human Resources is the root of the problem. The story takes us through the interaction between two departments within an organization working together - Human Resources and Customer Service. Another interesting interaction was how the two improve and achieve high performance against what appears to be the impossible odds set up by their employer.
While this is definitely not one of Blanchard’s best works. It is a quick read and offers small nuggets of insightfulness within its pages.
This book was obtained through library loan.