What Makes A Practice “Best”

Best practices, by requirement, are old practices.

For a practice to become a “best” practice, it has to be originated, utilized and documented. The practice spreads, being utilized more frequently until it is the most used practice. Eventually, with documented results, it becomes the norm.

It is not just the what…

The internet is full of stories of business success, and in our haste we strive to take what others did and try to repeat it without ever understanding the why. Unless we understand the complexities of how they arrived at the solution, we cannot implement an appropriate solution of our own. The best practice in this instance is to constantly ask WHY.

Aren’t best practices good?

Best practices are not always good. It may be a useful approach or solution, but that does not mean it is the best practice for your situation.

The label itself has made us lazy, always referring to the best practice without asking if it truly fits our situation. We use the intellect of others to find a simple way out.

Push back.

Breaking free from the use of best practice is the first step in making our organizations more innovative. To do this, here are some simple places to start:

1. Ask why.

Don’t know why a process or practice is in place, ask why and keep asking until you find a valid reason or toss it out.

2. Get clear on the problem first.

Often, we go looking for a place to apply a best practice instead of focusing first on gaining clarity of what we are trying to solve. Work to find a solution that makes sense.

3. If it is called a best practice, push back.

Start by asking questions like:

A) Who says this is a best practice?

B) What makes it a best practice (i.e. where’s the evidence)?

C)How do you know this is right for our situation?

Remember, there is no such thing as a “best practice.” There are only practices. Deciding if it’s best is a decision you should make for yourself.