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Conversely, high levels of performance should not be ignored. Those units and work groups that have had consistently high levels of performance are not likely to achieve great improvements through benchmarking. However, they need recognition for what they have achieved year in and year out. For these units, continued improvement, even if small, is worthy of recognition. BENCHMARKING MYTHS There are many misconceptions regarding benchmarking. Benchmarking is a positive and rewarding activity that can only benefit the individuals and the organizations involved if it is approached from the right perspective and with the right attitude. Here are some benchmarking myths that need to be dispelled: Everybody and every organization is different, so you cannot compare performance. Effective customer-driven benchmarking methods control for variations in weather, terrain, traffic, and other hardship factors outside the control of organizational units. Likes are compared with likes. Benchmarking places too much emphasis on who is best. This emphasis is misplaced. Identifying best performance is a means to an end. The end is to continuously improve the satisfaction and value that customers receive from road maintenance by illuminating and adopting best practices. Benchmarking is also about the personal and professional growth that results from sharing and learning from others. By focusing on the "best" performer, you single out one organization. In benchmarking, there usually are numerous "best" performers that vary depending on the set of measures used and the environmental factors at play. Also, once the best performer is identified, the attention should be focused on trying to understand the nature of the best performers' business practices and the feasibility of others easily adopting or improving upon them. Also, it should be noted that over time, the "best" performers will change. 25