Stuck In The Perfection Gap? Try Leading From “The Gain”

Raise your hand if you’re a perfectionist. Do you often find yourself focusing on what’s not working and feeling constantly frustrated? When your team checks in with you on a project they’re working on, do you tend to focus on the parts that need to be fixed? The parts that aren’t completed yet? “What about X, Y, and Z?”

In this episode of Team Success, Shannon Waller discusses why it’s critical to work and lead from “The Gain,” not “The Gap.” She explains the concept of The Gap And The Gain™, one of the foundational concepts of Strategic Coach® that has helped tens of thousands of people improve their relationships with their teams, families, and everyone else. Don’t miss this episode for practical methods to create psychological safety within the team, foster a positive environment, and drive growth within your team.

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Show Notes:

Shift Your Focus To Progress, Not Perfection

  • When you measuring progress from where you started (The Gain) rather than against an ideal (The Gap), you celebrate how far you’ve come and focus on what is working.
  • Acknowledging The Gain builds confidence and motivation within yourself and your team.
  • Remember: Progress, not perfection, is the key to growth.

Cultivate Psychological Safety For Your Team

  • Studies (see links below) have shown that top productive and profitable teams share just one thing in common: everyone trusts and respects one another. Researchers refer to this aspect of group culture as “psychological safety.”
  • Psychological safety in a team has repeatedly shown to have a bigger impact on the team’s performance than any other factor, including collective intelligence.
  • As a leader, your job is to help people stay in The Gain instead of The Gap; otherwise, they are going to play defense, not offense.
  • If people are defensive, they’re not taking risks, and if they don’t take risks, your company can’t grow.
  • When there is psychological safety, team members can own their mistakes because they are allowed to make them to learn from them.
  • Dan Sullivan, co-founder of Strategic Coach, says, “When there’s a problem with a person, 99% of the time it’s not the person; it’s the system.”
  • Being an “impact” leader means always measuring progress and looking for improvement ideas to improve results.

Strategies For Staying In The Gain

  • Positive Mindset: Use the Strategic Coach online web app WinStreak® to track your top three wins every day and set up three wins for tomorrow.
  • Short-Circuit The Amygdala: You can use tools such as The Experience Transformer® to turn negative experiences into valuable learning opportunities without overreacting or placing blame.
  1. Describe The Circumstance:Begin by objectively describing the situation that did not go as planned, focusing on facts rather than emotions.
  2. Identify Successes:Acknowledge aspects of the experience that worked well to recognize positive elements amidst challenges.
  3. List Areas For Improvement:Pinpoint specific aspects that did not contribute to the desired outcome to identify areas for enhancement.
  4. Brainstorm Solutions:Encourage creative brainstorming to generate ideas for improvement based on the identified challenges.
  5. Implement A New Approach:Develop a revised plan, incorporating insights gained from the experience to guide future endeavors.
  • Encourage Learning:Treat failures as learning opportunities and promote continuous improvement for culture and company growth.

The Strategic Coach P.A.G.E. core values:

  • P = Positive and collaborative teamwork.
  • A = Alert, curious, responsive, and resourceful.
  • G = Focus on growth and results.
  • E = Provide an excellent, first-class experience.

Key Take-Aways

  1. Keep yourself in The Gain.
  2. No one likes working with a leader who is always in The Gap.

If you have any questions or comments, reach out at


The Gap And The Gain by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy

The 21-Day Positive Focus®

Edmondson, Amy. (2011). Psychological Safety, Trust, and Learning in Organizations: A Group-level Lens. Trust and Distrust in Organizations: Dilemmas and Approaches.

Charles Duhigg, “What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team.” New York Times, Feb. 25, 2016

The WinStreak web app is also available as an app for Android phones.

The Experience Transformer article: “Transforming Experiences Into Multipliers”

The Impact Filter download

P.A.G.E.: “The Importance Of Core Values In Business”

Impact Players by Liz Wiseman

“Geometry” For Staying Cool & Calm by Dan Sullivan