When you want to improve an area of your life, benchmarking can help. In short, it’s a way to measure and compare practices and processes to improve your performance. When you’re serious about growth and development, benchmarking is a great tool.

Kevin Eikenberry, the chief potential officer at The Kevin Eikenberry Group, says that personal benchmarks can help in many areas, including understanding your existing performance and providing a perspective on what’s possible. Personal benchmarks can also help you set new standards or goals for growth.

But stay mindful of the potential pitfalls, he warns. You should never directly emulate someone else as this isn’t the best way to reach your full potential. Instead, learn from successful people and apply what you learn to your specific situation and style. Also, you should avoid direct comparison. This can either make you smug about your own progress or discouraged by how far you have to go.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Eikenberry’s thoughts on how to get started with personal benchmarking.

Identify the areas to create personal benchmarks. Maybe you want to work on being more punctual to meetings or work events. Or maybe you want to learn how to be a more assertive communicator. Reflect on your improvement areas and start with one or two goals or habits. You can create many personal benchmarks, but Eikenberry recommends starting with just one or two areas you want additional information and perspective.

Look for successful people. You may know them personally or you may know of them. The idea is to identify people who are working toward the same goals, doing well in the areas you have identified or have achieved what you want to achieve. It’s okay to benchmark world-class performers, but just keep the proper perspective, Eikenberry says.

Learn about their progress and metrics. You can pick anyone, from a business leader to a championship athlete to a world-renowned musician. But they can only be helpful to you if you can see their progress or trajectory and timelines in the areas you want to compare, Eikenberry says. Make sure you can see and measure their performance or results.

Map your progress to theirs. When you study the other person’s progress and performance, map it to yours. Eikenberry says that at that point you have created your personal benchmarks.

Continue measuring. Begin using your personal benchmarks to achieve the goals to understand, inform and improve your performance, he says.

Benchmarking can be useful at all levels, from entire organizations to specific teams to individual employees. While similar to setting KPIs, benchmarking can help you identify gaps in performance and KPIs can help you track the steps to close those gaps. If you want to experience growth, try creating personal benchmarks by following the steps above.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Kevin Eikenberry is the chief potential officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a leadership and learning consulting company. He is a leadership expert, a two-time bestselling author, speaker, consultant, trainer, coach and leader.