The Evil of Benchmarking

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Isn’t it strange that leadership is so much about benchmarking? We are so concerned with competition, scarcity and what our competitors are doing that we completely miss out on the opportunity to take our own business to the next level.

It seems like most businesses like to stay mainstream. They might have started up as a unique idea, but once others enter the market everybody seem to adjust to each other, more concerned with not standing out, than actually doing so.

Next level leadership is about daring to stand out. Getting out of that comfort zone that the benchmarking level is all about.

We know the market, we know the customers, and the competitors, we look back when we set goals for the future, we only do things we know how to do, and know that we can. This is a good place to be, we experience it as safe, and it is right out comfortable. And it can be for a while, at least as long as everything is on an upward swing. Because as long as you choose to be mainstream you will go with the flow as long as the flow goes. If, on the other hand, you choose to stand out, you will keep going in spite of everybody else stopping.

That is truly a nice place to be. So why do so few businesses go for it? Because it takes a bit to get there, and this is where most of us back out. We hate to admit it, but whether we are sales people, middle or even top management, we don’t like to challenge the unknown. That is hitting the terror barrier. Admitting you’re afraid of something is regarded as a weakness, so you keep quiet.

We do not like to do something that is new to us, which we do not quite know how to solve. We are more concerned with doing things right than doing the right things, the things that actually can give us an advantage over the others in the market place. Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried something new.

Remember this; the Wright brothers had no pilot’s license. Edison did not know he was going to illuminate the world. You see - great accomplishments have never been based on how. If you’re going to set goals you know how to achieve – you’re going to have to always lower the bar.

Don’t be so afraid of failing. Failing is a good thing, start promoting it! That is good leadership. If nobody fails in achieving goals, the goals are too low. Michelangelo says: “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark”.

John Maxwell says it is important to fail forward, fail forward into growth. By doing so you naturally bring your business forward, because every time you fail, get up again and keep going, you move forward. And every time you hit the terror barrier and break through it you advance to a new level, and if you advance, your business does.

Jan Peter Aursnes is the author of the book "Unlock Your Future: The Key to a Fulfilling Life," a transition coach and owner of Quantum Leaps Consulting, LLC. With a degree in management sciences from the University of Manchester, England, Mr. Aursnes has 27 years experience in the corporate world, mainly from the food and beverage industries and with special experience in organizational turn-around and down sizing all done in a transitional way rather as abrupt changes. He has also worked for the International Red Cross as a delegate in the Republic of Georgia. Jan Peter Aursnes is a native Norwegian but currently lives in West Palm Beach, Florida with his wife and two children. He is a true connoisseur with a special interest for wine and cheese and the pairing of the two. He also knows his coffee very well. His focus is on helping individuals and companies with transitional processes. To contact Jan Peter Aursnes call 561-868-1815 or visit http://peteraursnes.com

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