Benchmarking avoidance tactics no 1 – we’re unique, there’s no-one to compare to

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As we talk to more and more organisations about benchmarking there are a few classic excuses that people give for not adding benchmarking to their to do list. Now don’t get me wrong I’m all in favour of being cautious about what else one chooses to take on but some of the reasons given just don’t stand up to scrutiny so we’re going do a series of posts to pop a few balloons. Of course if you disagree with us or think there’s something we’ve not considered then we’d love to hear from you.

Ok, so at the top of the list is the ‘there’s no-one like us so there’s no-one to compare ourselves to’. Of course if you drill down to the real detail of what you do and how you do it I’d probably agree with you but there are broad similarities either across sectors or across organisations of a similar size and scale. It stands out very clearly in the data and if you’d like to take a look then follow one or more of these links to the data and related analysis (put in the sliced by size, turning point and orchestras posts). In short, it just ain’t true that comparisons can’t be made … indeed if you’d like to challenge us on that we’re always happy to have a look at your report and accounts and offer suggestions for useful comparisons.

The challenge then is determining which facets of your business model you hold in common with enough other organisations to be able to make useful comparisons with them. In the way that we’ve built the Culture Benchmark we’ve tried to make this as easy as possible. For starters we have a growing list of clusters and you can join one or more of them. These clusters correspond to membership organisations such as VAGA, the ITC, the MLA (as was) etc etc. There are about 50 different clusters at the moment and if you think there are key ones missing we’d be happy to set up more.

Once you’ve added your data into the benchmark you can also make comparisons by key lines in the data so for example if you wanted to compare your organisation only to others with a similar level of grant income or a similar number of employees then you could do that.

As part of the MMM re.volution programme we’re able to give 50 re.volution peers a free six month subscription to the Culture Benchmark and this also comes with a degree of phone support and you’ll see us at MMM events so we can help you work out which clusters to join and what comparisons to make. For those who are paying subscribers we also offer a degree of support in working this stuff out, after all we want to make sure you get the most out of a subscription. Check out when we are holding our free workshops to see if we’re coming to a city near you: http://mycakeculturebenchmark.eventbrite.co.uk/

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