There is a misconception that benchmarking is a very involved and arduous process. I’m not going to tackle that issue in the blog post; I’ll cover that in my next one. But, that is one of the largest barriers we hear from organizations wanting to use benchmarking to examine a real business problem.
The Logic Falls Apart
The thing that has always struck me about this objection is that it doesn’t hold up, logically, on any level.
- It is too hard, so I won’t do it – Do you only do easy things? Is that what made your organization successful?
- We have a real problem, but don’t want to go learn about it – Then are you going to ignore the problem and hope it goes away?
I think most organizations are rewarded to stay with the status quo. They’ve already gotten permission to perform at their current level through an approved budget for the year. They don’t have any real impetus to change, so they would rather deal with the problems and trade-offs they currently have versus finding out what might be required to fix them.
What is your CONK?
We call this CONK (the Cost of Not Knowing), and find most organizations don’t consider what they might be able to achieve through improving their processes or performance. Organizations using tools like Lean or Six Sigma are focused on reducing waste, defects, and better performance, but even those organizations are looking at theoretical (and usually incremental) improvements or only look internally for new ideas.
It is scary to look externally, and, to be honest, most of the organizations not looking externally don’t really know where to start. Taking that first step is the hardest, so I’ll tackle that in my next post. In the meantime, how does your organization view CONK and where do you look for ideas?