The APQC Blog

How Process Management is Like Teenage Boys?

As many of you know by now, I’m the proud parent of a high school student, with all the joys and frustrations that entails. I was recently struck with how much being a parent is like managing a business. Think about it. There are:

  • performance measures to monitor—grades and standardized tests,

  • workflows to manage—time management and study habits, and

  • employees to engage—celebrating successes, keeping morale high, and working with my son to embrace changes to study habits and prioritizing assignments over video games.

I made this connection recently was when I was reviewing my son’s advanced placement test with him to see:

  • how well he did (performance measures),

  • how his current preparation activities paid off (workflow management), and

  • to either celebrate his successes or share his frustrations (employee engagement).

We got the test score and the first thing we did was rush to the test’s website to look at the grade equivalents for college credits and compare his score to the distribution of scores for the exam. In other words, we needed to benchmark my son’s performance and understand the context surrounding that nebulous number staring back at us—and to give him bragging rights with his friends on his overall performance.

However, though the case can be made that benchmarking is a vital activity, it raises the question, “what does benchmarking really mean?” Furthermore, why do companies benchmark and what value do they derive from it?

6 Reasons You Should Be Benchmarking

Simply put, benchmarking is the process of comparing and measuring your organization against others to gain information on philosophies, practices, and measures that will help your organization take action to improve its performance. It also gives organizations what they are looking for: an idea of where their performance stands in relation to the competition and insight into how they can raise their performance to levels that will lead to the achievement of business goals. Organizations typically conduct benchmarking for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. improving profits and effectiveness,

  2. accelerating and managing change,

  3. setting stretch goals,

  4. achieving breakthroughs or innovations,

  5. overcoming “not invented here” complacency or arrogance, and

  6. gaining a new perspectives.

APQC wants to dig deeper and find out what value is being derived from benchmarking, so we are launching new research on the value of benchmarking and what benchmarking has allowed organizations to achieve. Through a brief survey, we aim to provide clarity on benchmarking practices, goals and measures, and what characteristics of benchmarking improve the effectiveness of key business activities, such as process improvements, strategic planning, and organizational design or transformation. All participants will receive an advanced complimentary summary of the findings. Survey responses are completely confidential and are in accordance with APQC's Benchmarking Code of Conduct.

Take the survey here: www.apqc.org/ValueofBenchmarking2016

For more process and performance management research and insights follow me on twitter at @hlykehogland or connect with me on LinkedIn