AHC Group

Drama and business values of corporate benchmarking

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Courtesy of AHC Group

Benchmarking is about comparing one firm's systems to a set of another firm's parallel systems — a simple yet effective approach to learning for management at a time when learning is critical.

'Tact,' my wife once explained, 'is the intelligence of the soul.' It was a dramatic point, and it has stayed alive in my mind across these last twenty years.

'Tact' is such a short but powerful word. The first reason corporate benchmarking is an effective management tool resides in the fact that the findings are perceived as 'tactful.' Zeal, force, focus, technical competence — all these attributes bring a business strategy to life. But perhaps one of its most hidden but vital values is 'tactfulness.' Without it, most management advice is just that: advice.

Advice becomes part of a valued and trustworthy business transaction when it can be put cost-effectively into action. But even that is far from enough. The advice must fit, it must be tactful. It must satisfy upper management, make sense to those in charge of operations and implementation, and it must also be perceived as valuable by key stake holders in the investment and external communities. Tactfulness goes a long way in addressing the complex and urgent demands of this new age of corporate transparency.

So, in this larger context, what exactly is benchmarking and why is the advice it generates tactful?.

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