Should we benchmark?
Another fun, quick read. This time from James Lawther on the topic of Benchmarking: the Easy and Hard Way
Benchmarking is a beguiling idea. You look at how your competitors do things, work out what is the best practice and then implement it. Benchmarking should create real competitive advantage.
A fabulous concept, what's not to like?
I love that he pokes all sorts of holes in the "easy way" of benchmarking. Either way you do it, he calls out some key questions:
- What should you benchmark?
- How good are you?
- Who should you benchmark against?
- What did you learn (from the exercise)?
I think of "the easy way" of benchmarking as only looking to replicate what other companies do without giving deeper thought to the questions above. And in thinking about "best practice" I am reminded of Dave Snowden's prohibition best practices only apply in non-complex situations where the world operates under repeatable circumstances. As the world grows more and more complicated and complex, this kind of repeatability becomes suspect. We need to be even more careful to ask these question - or ask the question "should we benchmark?"
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