On Benchmarking

Last week I presented at the 1st International Benchmarking Conference in Tehran. It was an interesting experience – and one which taught me quite a lot about our host nation.

I gave the opening presentation, so my theme was broad. While preparing my presentation, I decided to provoke some thinking so, rather than expand on the merits of benchmarking, my approach was to give examples of the risks of benchmarking without adequate thought. Specifically on:

  • What to benchmark
  • How to benchmark
  • How to interpret benchmark information
  • How to communication and share benchmarking findings

The key message was that benchmarking is a great tool but it needs to be used properly. I summed it up as “a hammer is a great tool but if you use a hammer to brush your teeth, you won’t have much to smile about”.


Great care needs to be taken when benchmarking to ensure you benefit and don’t harm your organization. If you would like to learn about benchmarking or face a challenge where you think learning best practice could help, get in touch with the Institute.