Historical Performance is not Benchmark Performance

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historical performance

Historical Performance is not Benchmark Performance

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It often starts with, “What did we do last year?” Many people and organizations set a course to measure future performance against historical performance. Win or lose, exceed the previous, or met expectations, is that high performance?

Measuring performance is always relative. Whichever team wins the championship has a different history when compared with the team who didn’t make it to the playoffs.

Historical Performance

Often people and organizations measure against their last performance or recent performance.

It is an anchor. Where we place the mark.

As people we tend to anchor to data. Initially people often frame according to the record. The record high jump, the fastest time, or the longest distance. Guinness has a book of records.

These records are valuable and important. A point of origin, a starting place, and a remembrance of achievement.

Is the act repeatable? Was it luck?

Benchmark Performance

Benchmark performance is considered to be different. A collection of data that specifies the approximate.

The average time for a marathon, lap times at a Motorsport event, and in golf, par.

There are many ways to set performance standards. Some of them feel more important than others.

Performance measurement may depend on what is trying to be accomplished. If the goal is to improve or get better, it may be connected to history.

The problem with historical data is often in its assumption of accuracy. Is the lap time unbeatable? Can you score under par?

Weighing a pound less on the scale after your workout is perhaps a good measure.

Bringing in one dollar more in sales revenue this year when compared with last year is better, but it is unlikely the limit. And, likely shouldn’t be the goal.

Becoming better or the best is often determined by the anchor.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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