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Why Comparison is Divisive

February 23, 2010

How many times are we advised or even compelled to bench mark our work/team/organisation against others? It even begins at school (or at home). Little Johnny is more/less than so and so…….I even notice tht I do is with my August born boy, who is due to start school next September. I ask myself  “How will he compare to the other children. How will he cope or keep up with those nearly  a year older than him?” A better question to ask would be, “how am I going to support him to reach his potential? How am I helping the school to recognise his gifts and help him to develop?”  Now, notice where your thinking goes here – and then ask yourself – “how do I support myself to reach my potential rather than wasting my energy wishing I was more like someone else, or sitting on my laurels being glad that I have been compared favourably to someone else.

Her are the  fundamental problems with comparison:

  1. Essentially you will always be following someone else’s lead, looking to see what they are doing and putting your effort into hitting that bar. How do you know it is the right bar?
  2. It stifles energy and creativity – and all that focus is put into doing the same “how” (often harder and faster but not smarter) as someone else – not creating the new “what”, the thing that really can make a difference, to your customers, your bottom line or even you.
  3. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but you will still be a replica of the original – and we all know they second and third editions just don’t make or mean as much as a first edition.
  4. Comparison can set us off on  a whole catalogue of self – limiting beliefs and eventually a limiting identity –  “I am not as good as…”
  5. Even if you do compare favourably, you still need someone worse than you to compare yourself against.  You still need to spend energy thinking about this or even finding the comparison.

There are probably more and you could try to find them, or you could just get on with your life and be the best version of you, you can be.

I am not saying that benchmarking as a tool is not a good thing – when it is used just as that, a tool. When it is used as a purpose then we lose our way and set up bureaucratic industries to keep the status quo. When we put our focus on comparison we put boundaries around what we and others can do. It is these boundaries that stop us from creating  organisations that foster strengths and provide conditions for growth and development. We stop this for ourselves too. So forget about the benchmark, forge your own path and exceed your own expectations.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 10, 2010 4:18 am

    Hm hm.. that’s very interessting but actually i have a hard time visualizing it… I’m wondering what others have to say….

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