How Benchmarking is Driving Performance: A Recap

At our 5th Annual Strategy and Performance Management Summit, three panelists discussed how benchmarking can contextualize metrics and help local governments build solutions together.

At the 5th Annual ClearPoint Strategy and Performance Management Summit in Durham, North Carolina, we hosted a terrific panel on benchmark-driven performance!

Meet your panelists:

  • Monica Croskey Chaparro – Strategic Planning and Performance Manager, City of Raleigh, NC
  • Dale Roenigk, Ph. D – Lecturer and Director, North Carolina Benchmarking Project, UNC School of Government
  • Susan Maier – Senior Management Analyst, Johnson County, KS, and Lead Coordinator, Kansas City Regional Benchmarking Initiative

Why Benchmarking?

With introductions all done and an excited crowd ready to learn, we got on our way! Monica described how benchmarking helps explain the ‘why’ behind performance. Benchmarking helps to contextualize the numbers and explain what’s going on with you and your peers. With benchmarking, no one stays uninformed and stuck in their own silos. Instead, everyone comes out of their respective corners and shares their performance and challenges with their larger community.

But how does that happen? We got to learn straight from the source! The audience was thrilled to find out how Dale and Monica’s organizations work together. Dale’s benchmarking project collects performance data from North Carolina governments such as the City of Raleigh, analyzes the data, and then reports it back to local governments so that they can leverage the information to make better decisions that lead to better performance. It was awesome hearing from the experts themselves how organizations can collaborate to ultimately make everyone better!

The Importance of Regional Collaboration

Susan continued the discussion with a practical take on benchmarking and regional collaboration. She spoke to how bigger isn’t always better. You may have awesome data at the national level, but if you can’t relate to it, it’s difficult to apply to your own organization. If you have a strong regional network, then you know you’re dealing with similar people facing similar problems. Better yet, the solutions that people in similar organizations have tried are more likely to work in your organization too!

Continuing with a solution-focused perspective, Susan shared with us how nearby organizations could build solutions together, saving resources and duplicative efforts by leveraging their shared need and proximity. The panel in full agreement, Dale stressed the importance of relationships when it comes to benchmarking and Monica explained how it’s easier to develop those relationships at the regional level since it’s cheaper and less demanding on staff to nurture these connections than it would be at a national level.

Benchmarking in Practice

Finally, the panel advised the crowd on how to best use and understand benchmarking data. Monica recommended complementing the data with a conversation in order to paint a picture and increase understanding. Dale cautioned against setting arbitrary targets but instead focusing on the direction of your data.  Susan closed the panel, stressing the importance of considering the relevancy of the data: the data just can’t be good; it has to be good for you.

A special shout out to our three panelists! Thanks for sharing your benchmarking stories, tips and tricks, and advice for getting started.

Thinking about starting a regional benchmarking initiative in your area? Here’s an overview of the Kansas City Regional Benchmarking Initiative. If you’re ready to start sharing data with your peers, reach out to our team to learn more about Peer-To-Peer Sharing with ClearPoint!


How Benchmarking is Driving Performance: A Recap