Much has been said of benchmarking – the act of looking to best-in-class companies and measuring yourself against their methods. Of course, the expectation is to gauge how you compare with industry leaders, identify where you can improve, and adjust your methods to achieve those same best-in-class results. Most fail because they are going about benchmarking in the wrong way.
The second-most common mistake is to simply adopt what the benchmark is doing. This often fails because your culture and/or circumstances are different than the benchmark organization. The better approach is to adapt their methods so they make sense in your unique situation. Consider how you can improve the best practice by tailoring it to your business.
But the biggest mistake, by far, is that people tend to focus only on the benchmark’s tactics. Attempting to copy present-day actions will certainly help – but only in the short term. The problem with this approach is that legitimate industry-leading organizations are continuously improving. To adopt a best practice and stick with it will only ensure that your competition will eventually pass you by. A fatal mistake.
The key characteristics of world-class companies that make them different and better are not just what they do – but how they think! Why do they consider things the way they do? What are the priorities? What are the non-negotiables? How do they create consistency when circumstances are constantly changing? How do they deal with all the swirling details that we all have to juggle, and, with essentially the same resources, achieve better results?
When you benchmark the right way, you gain insights that matter – and that makes a long-lasting improvement to the health of your business. The choice is yours: tap into the solutions that will spark your sustainable breakthrough or adopt a short-term approach that will struggle to gain traction and will ultimately fail.
What would a world-class benchmark decide to do if they were you?