Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Best Practices AND Next Practices

On occasion, people complain about how best practices are a waste of time.  That the far better thing is to focus on "next practices".  Whenever I hear that, I get all tingle-y.  Which is a sarcastic way of saying I think they are soooo wrong.

Not that best practices are the sole solution.  My experience (and the practice of world-class businesses everywhere) is that BOTH are critically important to earn and maintain your competitive edge.

Here's the real deal: Picking up best practices (current actions that industry leaders are performing on a regular basis to exceed expectations and get the best results) is an incredibly valuable thing to do...for the short term.  Professionals and their companies get in trouble when they latch on to a cool, new gem of an idea and then implement it so obsessively that they can't consider any NEW new idea.  This thinking only locks them into a temporary result - that will certainly slip away as the rest of the competition improves their performance over time.  In this (misused) approach, best practices are the first great steps towards a slow spiral down Darwin's business evolution.

Bummer.  Cue the sad trombone sound.

The better (and yes, proven) approach is to take advantage of any quick wins by adapting best practices - with the commitment to push for daily discoveries that will also develop next practices - that will guarantee your competitive edge.  Constantly striving for ways to create a better customer experience - think all five senses at every step of their experience - for both your external customer AND your internal customer (employee/team).  Then and only then will you take advantage of both aspects of the practices that create your results...and reputation...and legacy.

Think about it.  But more importantly, do something about it...today!

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