Oct 1, 2006

Management best practices

One of the most denigrated things in today's world of "innovation-over-all-else" business is "best practices".

The criticism is not without reason. When best practices are replicated, often the benefits do not accrue to the "copying" organization as it had by the "originating" organzation. Organizations have also been accused of concentrating on best practices so much that they forget the customer, the fulcrum of the business.

However, I would still stick my neck out and say that best practices are good for business in general.

Of course, there are caveats.

What most people don't understand is that there can be two kinds of best practices:
  1. Content: This is like copying the exit interview form of an organization that is supposed to have some meaningful exit process.
  2. Process: This is the soft part, the cogs, nuts and bolts behind the template, behind what is visible that makes the content actually work.
Of course, when organizations usually say "best practices" they actually study "content" while forgetting the "process", which is why most attempts fail to produce expected results.

The reason best practices are important to the market is that, done well, it raises the consumer expectation from all organizations in the industry. Eventually, only the best responsive to the customer/client survive.

The market is actually a force that seeks to erode the competitive edge of organizations, and best practice is a force of that market that urges organizations to no rest on their laurels but keep pushing the envelope.