Clients often ask me to speak about best practices, and here’s what I tell them: I don’t believe in best practices.
The phrase—best practices—sounds grand and worthwhile. But the truth is, the concept of “best practices” always needs a qualifier—best practices … for now … that we know off … given the current circumstances…etc.
Striving for the best has helped many organizations improve. But today’s best practices are next week’s second-best practices and next month’s obsolete practices.
Not only that, but the competition is aware of and likely practicing the same best practices as you. If they aren’t, they soon will be. As advertising guru Lee Clow put it, “When reviewing a list of best practices, keep in mind that someone somewhere is selling them in a book.” So if everyone’s using the same “best practices,” there’s not much competitive advantage for anyone.
Rather than best practices, I believe in better practices and next practices.
Better practices: How can we do what everybody else is doing best but do it better?
Next practices: How can we change the game?
To dominate and lead, improve on the best and create better practices. And if you’re up for the challenge, look for the game changing practices that make you, for at least awhile until others emulate you, a category of one.