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BLOGThe Social Benchmark

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Business Development, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management, StrategyTagged as: ,

In your professional field, who is the best at what they do? Chances are, you didn’t name yourself. This is not surprising – between personal modesty, and our competitive instinct to look over our shoulders, we will usually make the comparison to others.

Management experts will tell you that a focus on comparing with others is wrong; that the correct approach is to focus on the customer:  if you meet their needs, then all will be well.

This is correct, but there is a powerful benefit to also comparing yourself to your competitors: you gain insights into the market from a completely different perspective. You can examine their service approach – and possibly glean some insights that will make you even better.  (Of course, you shouldn’t ever assume that their approach is the best one – or even appropriate for your context.)

In fact, the quest to be the best can only happen when you incorporate the best ideas – no matter the source.  This practice is called Benchmarking. It is useful in strategy, in marketing, online as well as in the real world, and even on a personal level.  Disregarding (or ignoring) great ideas just because they come from competitors, junior members of the team, or from the web is silly.


Whatever task you are doing this week, take a minute to do some benchmarking: First, choose your comparators. Then find out what they’re doing. Finally, extract what is applicable, and make it your own.

Strategic Insight: A common problem occurs when you choose the wrong comparators. Merely comparing yourself against the usual (and often average) suspects means a usual and average result.

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