What does outstanding look like?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I am doing a piece of gap analysis work and using the NHS change model gap analysis tool to help with this.  Over the space of nine different tabs in a spreadsheet, the tool covers:

  • Shared purpose
  • Leadership by all
  • Motivate and mobilise
  • System drivers
  • Measurement
  • Project and performance management
  • Improvement tools
  • Spread and adoption
  • GAP tool

The last one is basically a pictorial representation of the scores entered in to each of the other tabs on where we are now and where we want to be, in a range for zero to ten in radar diagrams.

On each of the other tabs, the same three questions are asked with a different emphasis:

  1. What does outstanding look and feel like?
  2. What works well?
  3. What would be even better if…?

Of course, this is a work based tool, but it could so easily be used for everyday life too. The whole point of a gap analysis is to reflect on where we are now versus where we want to be in the future.  Then we can consider what actions are required to get us there and in what timeframe.

Even if we were to look at this as an individual wanting to make changes in our lives, we can consider each of these, for example, our shared purpose might be to provide a safe and loving home environment.  Leadership in that context might mean who is going to be responsible for what and when, it could be some home maintenance, it could be primary carer responsibilities and so on.  Then how we motivate and mobilise could encompass opportunities to engage with other members of our families or social groups to assist, if someone has some particular skills that could be made use of. You could resort to incentives to gain that assistance, like “if you come over and help me paint the lounge, I’ll cook you dinner”. 

What system drivers could be included in a scenario such as this? Maybe a driver for painting the lounge is because you’re putting the house on the market and you want to freshen it up for prospective buyers.  The project and performance management includes things like planning when the activity is going to take place, what you need in order for it to happen (buying paint and brushes).  The improvement tools could be as simple as a before and after photo of what the lounge looked like and how shiny and refreshed it looked after the decorating party.  Spread and adoption could extend to now you’ve decorated the lounge, how about the bedrooms and kitchen? 

But what does outstanding look and feel like?  Do you have a DIY snagging list that you can tick everything off to make sure that the walls have been painted, that the window sills and skirting boards have been done, that the doors have been refreshed?  

A rather trivial example, but you get my meaning.  It could be adopted for pretty much anything you want to change.

Taking a more philosophical approach, what does outstanding look and feel like to you as a person?  Are you the best version you could be?  By answering the other two questions, we can start to examine how we might see outstanding. 

What works well now?  What do we instinctively know is good behaviours, habits, personal attributes?  What do other people tell us?  What non-verbal feedback do we get from others that might indicate approval in what we do or say? What things can we build on or take advantage of to make our ambitions real?

On the other hand, what would be even better if….?  What has, or might prevent us from making our ambitions a reality? How could we respond differently to get a more positive outcome?  How could we be more assertive of our needs without being obstinate?  How could we be more empathetic towards others? 

What does outstanding look and feel like to you?


One thought on “What does outstanding look like?

  1. Not wanting to dull anyone’s aspirations but outstanding seems a high achieving word. Everyone wants to be great at certain things but what about just being good at something? I have no need to seem better than anyone else by being outstanding at anything myself. But that’s just me 😉😀 I’d be outstanding at being mediocre 😂


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