Let’s Agree: Don’t Call Copying What Other People Do “Best Practices”

Some things in the boardroom drive me crazy. (Actually the list is quite long, but we don’t need to get into that today). Near the top of that list is the term “best practices”.

What is “best” depends on many, many factors. So, when people say, “best practices”, they really mean “common practices.”

And, while common practices can be wonderful, I believe they can also very, very dangerous.

The problem with using common/best practices:

I’m all for optimizing and improving but you need to do that with eyes wide open. You must make sure any systems you implement are best for you and the nuances of your business, based on your strategy and unique view of, or approach to, taking care of your customers. If you don’t…

  • You often become much like the other businesses you compete with, as you try to optimize or streamline.
  • The more you operate and think like your competition, the more likely you are to inadvertently put yourself into a commoditized position.

When in the eyes of your customers you and your competition are very similar, the only way to decide between you is based on price.

A best practice for somebody else could actually be a worst practice for you.

For example, we just did a full review of HR processes for a company, including many of the things they had implemented from a corporate behemoth with thousands of employees, that didn’t work for their entrepreneurial company of a few hundred people. The result were cumbersome, slow and bureaucratic systems that were actually “worst practices” for them.

To be clear, I’m not saying don’t look at “best” or “common practices”, I’m saying choose an “advantage-enhancing” practice for your business strategy – one that gives you a competitive edge.

The Challenge

  • Don’t assume that all “best practices” are a good idea.
  • Look at “common practices” and then choose what will be an “advantage- enhancing practices” for you.
  • If you don’t know, then you might need to reach out to other leaders who may have a similar strategy.

Want more?

Listen: Episode 102 of The Growth Whisperers podcast.


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