Friday, June 14, 2013

When Best Practices Destroy Value

What is best yesterday will not be best tomorrow.

At best, comparison with industry best practices promotes a satisfaction with some sort of competitive equality, a settling for the expediency of the ideas of someone else. The real problem with best practices is that sometimes it stifles creativity and innovation, works against creating competitive advantage and creates the illusion of continuous improvement. When will best practices destroy value?

  1. Best practice may usually only focus on process efficiency, about know-how, not get broader thought about process effectiveness, dig through why, today's process is no longer isolated, it's interrelated with the latest technology and best talent, the path to excellence is to think more closely about business goals, iterative communication, and multitude of choices. 
  1. Best practice as an average workflow. If you work for "the best practice," you will be at the average. If you want a competitive advantage,  you need to be different, you must be better than others. 
  1. Best Practice can mean different things in business. It could be how a process is conducted or how a procedure is handled...speaking high-level only of course. For Example, how service contract revenue is deferred over its terms (procedure) vs. how it's technically managed in terms of all the accounting surrounding it (process).  
  1. Finding different ways to handle the process can give a competitive advantage. Dealing with many customers, the process is always costly, and finding a different, innovative way of doing things can be very advantageous. 
  1. Best Practices turns to be the end itself. Some industry best practice or frameworks are efficient in managing process flow, but it may also bring a certain level of complexity to stifle innovation, or inundate with technological details, but with ignorance of the end business goals.  
  1. What is best yesterday will not be best tomorrow. The bottom line is "best practice" which is a benchmarking tool and only true for the time and given environment. Taking a best practice from one environment into another could turn out to be the worst practice, as so-called best is now out of its benchmarking context. 
An iterative way to improvement is the best way forward. The art of implementing best practices comes with collaboration at all levels including management and end users. It is mandatory to have representation from all the stakeholders affected by the process to enable a successful transformation.Is best practice still your next practice?


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