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“Benchmarking best practice just gets you to average. It doesn’t result in real innovation...

“Benchmarking best practice just gets you to average. It doesn’t result in real innovation. It just copies the past and often the mistakes of the past, rather than the successes.” Steve Jobs


Having worked in multiple organisations for over 20 years that study 'best practice' I've increasingly become frustrated with the concept.


By its very nature 'best practice' is backwards looking and in this era of exponential change the past is becoming less and less an effective predictor of the future.


In such times adaptive performance is ever more critical, i.e. our ability to diverge from past approaches.


Does that mean benchmarking is pointless?


No... but it is worth considering what we benchmark.


Instead of benchmarking practices and processes, more value can be had by first benchmarking how successful organisations and their leaders think.


The mental models and mind frames of successful people are far less context specific and far more adaptable in the face of uncertainty.


Next time you come up against a challenge, instead of asking 'how have other companies dealt with this problem successfully' first ask 'how have other companies thought about this challenge'.