Best Practices Are Often Not Best At All
When it comes to running my businesses, I’m not a big fan of the “best practices” scenario.
Attend any board meeting, read most corporate annual reports, and listen to the canned speeches of a lot of CEOs, and you keep hearing the promise that a company or organization adheres to “best practices.”
When I hear that, I translate it to cookie-cutter responses, a plug in and turn on mindset that isn’t being encouraged to isolate the unique challenges of every business situation.
Best practices is just another way of saying “this worked in the past.” Whether or not it will work now that time and a lot of other circumstances have changed is anybody’s guess.
When a company clings to its “best practices” mandate, it risks developing a mindset of “we always do it this way.” Nothing can sink your ship faster in today’s tough economic waters than that way of tackling challenges.
The same leaders who are proud of their “best practices” rules are usually the ones who talk about the importance of not having to “reinvent the wheel.”
My point of view is that today, more than ever before, we do need to keep reinventing that wheel. We also need to keep re-examining it to ensure that the tire still has a deep tread, that the rim is not bent out of shape, and that it is the right wheel to move the vehicle forward in this given set of circumstances.
Companies that cling to best practices today risk stagnating or failing to see the circumstances that on the surface look the same as last time, but in reality have an undercurrent of something different.
I do believe in certain processes for quality control, of course, but I think we have reached the point in our business growth that each challenge needs to be checked for its uniqueness. The business climate today is more fluid, more challenging, and more rapidly evolving than ever before, and any solution, no matter how well considered, may not be the best solution for more than a month at a time.
What should you be using instead as the basis of your discussions to find solutions to challenges?
Consider solutions, and when agreement is reached, establish them as a series of smart goals. Set specific deadlines and measurement strategies for these solutions. Build answers that play to the strengths of your specific team.
Look at every situation as a way for your team to learn, not just to produce. That allows your team to focus on process, not just end results, and that builds a stronger knowledge base that will be more adaptable to the next challenge.
Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion. 24 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.Check out Paula’s best selling books: “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything”, “Dreaming BIG and Being BOLD: Inspiring stories from Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers” book series; and due to be released soon “Bold Vision: A Leader’s Playbook for Managing Growth” go to Amazon http://ow.ly/i8yW307ix67
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