The gap analysis perspective can divert your attention from noticing what is going on around you at this very moment.
It is common for many people to see the world as an ideal contrasted with a reality. People are measured against an ideal standard and are diagnosed in relation to that standard. The gap analysis is the classic example – where do you want to be compared to where you are now. There is a deficit and the solution is to work out a plan to close the gap.
Patricia Benner in The Primacy of Caring points out that this orientation towards some future ideal state has some cost. The price people pay for having this mindset is that they become blinded to the possibilities in their current situation. Because their focus is on the future and the gap, it is not on what is going on around them at the present moment.
This reminds me of the acres of diamonds story – I think I heard it from Brian Tracy and it may well be apocryphal. It concerns a farmer who sold up his farm and went off to another country to hunt for diamonds. Years later, he died, penniless and alone. In the meantime, on his farm that he had sold years earlier, guess what they found? Some very very large diamonds.
I think that the focus on an ideal future and the deficit compared to the current state stops people in organisations from seeing the possibilities in what is going on around them. It stops them from seeing the acres of diamonds that are present right now.
In your organisation where are the areas in which you are talking about what should be in the future at the expense of noticing what is going on around you at this very moment?