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Monday, September 24, 2012

Importing Best Practices

I no longer think different ways of working are inherently better or worse. I find the most productive workers in any task group have found an optimal process. Often that structure can be improved by adding processes from outside the environment.

That’s harder than it looks, as Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn’t have to do it.

Yet, I have seen several times when importing a little knowledge from another discipline made for great gains.

My second tour selling COBOL, we started changing our offer every six weeks, borrowed from something I had read about cosmetics retailing. Prospects were meeting with us just to be entertained, but as long as we were there, would we take a look at...

Wasn’t too long before senior management wanted to renegotiate commissions if it was that easy...

Building a cellphone empire, we had enough hard partiers that we used parts of the 12 step approach to improve our global scalability. They understood the need for weekly meetings, for having everyone define their reality, for finding individual solutions. The level of managerial opinion went way down, and we set industry records for five years.

More frequently, I’ve seen best practice candidates that appealed to someone’s ego or how they THOUGHT the world should be. I wasted six weeks once because my boss kinda read a book on an airplane and thought he had found the silver bullet. My tribe thought I’d lost my mind.

Years later I learned Best Practices Better Be Blatantly Obvious, Otherwise They Are Not Best Practices. Wish I had figured that out.

Just when we’ve optimized all we know, that’s when we get to participate in disruptive innovation, ready or not. Just when you perfect the carburetor, you get fuel injection.

Stewart Emery says there are two requirements for growth, an absolute commitment to telling the truth about reality and surrounding yourself with people who are committed to growth.

Isn’t that the real secret of best practices?

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1 comment:

Unknown said...


Best practices for processes are about 80% universal and can apply to other tasks and industries - some as a direct application, some as a conceptual application.

If a carpenter's best practice is using ten-penny nails to secure critical stress points in a structure, can this concept be ported to a service organization? At the critical stress points of providing the service, would results be better with experienced or highly trained staff assigned to those roles? Like using a ten-penny nail instead of a common nail.

Never be too proud (or arrogant) to learn from what others have discovered and implemented.

Thanks for the post, Dick.