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Do You Know the Limits of Best Practices?

Sticking to the habitual norm and never seeking innovation is one of the fastest ways for a company to crash and burn. In fact, “best practices” are typically methods formed out of habit, and sticking with them too rigidly can prevent success. In an article for Fast Company, Shane Snow elaborates on the problems with sticking only to best practices.

Best Has a Life Span

Trends are constantly coming and going, and this means that what is cutting-edge today may become obsolete tomorrow. However, too many companies are entirely too committed to the “best” practices despite that the “best” may no longer be relevant. According to Snow, a huge problem with people’s mentalities is that they assume, “If this wasn’t the best way of doing things, I’m sure it would have disappeared by now.” Another problem is that people typically do not question the best, and determine for how long the practice really is working.

Snow additionally cautions that best practices are “self-perpetuating.” He draws on the mentality in Hollywood that movies with more stars do better in the box office. Despite several studies that disprove this, Hollywood big shots still believe this is the golden ticket to… selling more movie tickets.

Best practices hinder progress because people become too comfortable with the norm and never question if there could be a better solution. Snow suggests that borrowing best practices from other industries can help to break the traditional molds and discover a wonderful new practice. For example, Snow wrote an article about a children’s hospital that was not succeeding with the best practices from other hospitals, so they borrowed some best practices from Formula 1 racing. He believes that this is “one way to engage in lateral thinking without having to be naturally out-of-the box yourself.”

Organizations need to become accustomed to the necessity of breaking away from assumptions to explore what is truly the best practice. You can read the original article here: http://www.fastcompany.com/3052222/hit-the-ground-running/the-problem-with-best-practices

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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