Transforming Corporate Performance: Measuring and Managing the Drivers of Business Success

By Michael A. Milgate | Go to book overview

4
Benchmarking and
Strategic Performance
Measurement

BENCHMARKING AS A BUSINESS DRIVER
James Straker revealed the double-edged wisdom and danger of benchmarking when speaking on the subject: [Benchmarking is not a fishing expedition.]1 This is a refreshing insight, in contrast with jaded phrases, such as stolen with pride, still cited frequently by die-hard benchmarkers, who often demonstrate further pride in seeing benchmarking studies collect dust on their bookshelves.Benchmarking is neither tourism nor passive comparison. Signs are that newer waves in the process will consign this approach to corporate history as benchmarking takes on greater significance for strategic performance measurement. For example, Rank Xerox applies benchmarking to business growth in its lean,2 decentralized organization; it is an integral element of strategic reviews at the U.K.'s Information Technology Services Agency; and at least six leading British organizations are benchmarking community involvement in relation to corporate governance, public expectations, and their image.Of critical importance, and discussed later in this chapter, benchmarking is evolving strongly into managing the wider field of best practice rather than purely comparative projects. Accelerated improvement and superior performance are the issues, driven by five executive questions:
What is the benchmark?
Where are the best practices?

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