Benchmarking Success: How to benchmark for better team performance
Chances are you’ve heard the old managerial adage “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” At work, you and your team define and track goals like clockwork. But unless you measure the results of your performance, how do you know if you were successful at achieving them at all? Evaluating individual and team performance is no different than measuring the financial and operational efficiencies of an organization: You simply have to know what metrics to measure.
What is this thing called Benchmarking?
There are two fundamental types of benchmarking: internal benchmarking (comparisons made within an organization) and competitive benchmarking (comparisons to external organizations). Your company may decide to focus on one measurement practice over the other depending on current strategic business goals. Regardless, both approaches require an understanding of what’s important for your organization to succeed — commonly referred to as critical success factors (CSFs) — and, of course, an action plan to narrow the gap for selected practices.
The gap between an individual’s actual performance and preferred achievement is what we at Surprise.com like to call your Success Index (more on that later). In general, an index is a statistical tool designed to measure performance against a benchmark over time. These measurements identify opportunities for improvement and reinforce the case for change.
Hit me with your best practices
A 2003 PricewaterhouseCoopers Trendsetter Barometer survey found that companies who benchmark achieve 69% faster growth and 45% greater productivity than those who don’t. Benchmarking is a powerful management tool because it overcomes paradigm blindness. In other words: the way we do it is the best way because this is the way we’ve always done it.
A good rule of thumb is: Don’t spend time and energy measuring something you aren’t willing to change in the first place.
Individuals and teams who use benchmarking to evaluate various processes and improve efficiencies should ask themselves the following questions:
- Am I/are we making progress fast enough?
- Am I/are we using the best practices?
- Am I/are we tracking the right metrics?
The key is to identify if the potential benefit to be gained from collecting, measuring, and analyzing this information exceeds the cost of obtaining it.
I get by with a little help from my friend: Alice
Once you’ve decided which metrics to benchmark, it’s important to use this information to educate your team members about the correlation between these quantitative measurements and profit. When employees see and understand this correlation, it’s amazing how intrinsically motivating action-oriented behaviors become.
But analyzing lots of different performance factors requires a little extra help.
Meet Alice, Surprise.com’s proprietary AI. Alice uses an algorithm that tracks each individual’s journey using a Success Index. This index is an aggregate score of several key indicators of success, like Mission performance, consistency, and hustle, as well as data gathered from integrated systems like Jira, Salesforce, Asana, and more.
Throughout any given day, a user’s Success Index will rise and fall, and Alice will inform and assign new Missions (highly specific, purpose-driven actions) based on chosen growth areas that help you and your team achieve your benchmarks.
Makes sense. Now what?
Benchmarking helps organizations achieve better performance, adopt best practices, and even overcome complacency. By continuously striving for higher operational and efficiency standards, businesses stay relevant in the market. And when teams adopt a way to measure performance that links the value of success to a larger benchmark, employees perform better and companies achieve greater success.
In the end, you can’t build a great company without a pretty solid bench.