Best Practices are the outcome of the quality movement and other corporate searches for the "Holy Grail" of business. Yet, they don't always work out as planned. Here's why:
Why "Best Practices" often aren't.
- Every organization is different. (Am I stating the obvious? Please forgive me.) This includes the leadership, markets, employees, customers, products, services, policies, strategic direction and organizational performance at the time of the 'best practice'.
- The complexity of organizational structure makes the implementation of a 'best practice' nearly impossible to achieve.
- A 'best practice' generally arose from some organizational suffering requiring rethinking, retooling, and reappraisal. That suffering induced effort, often strenuous effort, to resolve a major issue. Without that requisite suffering, organizational bystanders may study a 'best practice' but they will not likely be as engaged in applying the practice in their circumstance.
- The 'best practice' we read in a polished marketing brochure may be radically different from where it started. In other words, we may not be getting the whole story.
So what are these 'best practices' good for?
- The value of a 'best practice' is the awareness of a different way to do things.
- They create an avenue for discussion that comes from outside the corporation, and are often less threatening to those who are failing to lead.
- In every perceived 'best practice' there is an element of truth which can be applied in one's circumstance. There is always something to learn and apply - the will to do so, however, is still the limiting factor.
- Sometimes, your 'best practices' are within your own walls. People within your company are doing amazing things that can change your company! [A prophet is not without honor except in his own land ...].
- The exemplar teams within your company would benefit from the recognition you could provide by acknowledging their achievements. (And just think of what that would do for Employee Engagement!).
- Sometimes, just good old fashioned hard work and brainstorming can produce remarkable results within your company. Who knows? Maybe your organization will come up with the next 'best practice'?