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It’s time to ditch best practices: When someone comes up with better practices, you get left behind.

practices

You need better practices, and these come with innovation which is only possible in an Inspiring Culture.

Practices

Alan Weiss is right — it’s time to ditch best practices. You need better practices, and these come with innovation which is only possible in an Inspiring Culture.

Best practices are seductive. After all, who doesn’t want the best for your business? Once you adopt a best practice, no improvement is necessary — it’s the best.

This mentality leads to complacency: doing the same things over and over and expecting the same results. When someone comes up with better practices, you get left behind.

I’m sure that companies like Sears, Toys R US, Blockbuster, and the like employed best practices as they maintained a comfortable status quo. They’re out of business, eclipsed by innovations that led to better practices, ideas, and products. The military schoolhouses issue best practices at a cyclic rate of fire. None of them helped to defeat a rag-tag militant group like the Afghan Taliban. The California DMV’s so-called Strategic Plan implores the organization to “Apply best practices in the hiring and selection process.”

Being a “Hands-on” leader was once a best practice, prompting its advocates to micromanage their employees, stifle initiative, and reduce innovation. Annual performance reviews tend to heighten workplace tensions and reduce vital one-on-one leader-to-subordinate conversations that should be happening weekly, thus lowering performance. People still believe the nonsense that focusing on your weaknesses, rather than playing to strengths, leads to better outcomes. HR departments continue hiring based on skills while ignoring natural affinities. The Great Escape from bad bosses, rotten workplaces, and ill-fitting jobs continues at an alarming rate.

I’m all for learning from what others do well. If it’s a better practice than what you are using and fits well, then go for it. Don’t rest on your laurels, though. Keep promoting better practices.

Building an Inspiring Culture (TM) that promotes innovation requires clarity and alignment on your organization’s common good, authority at first-line levels and above to solve problems and experiment with new ideas, and top cover from you that includes guidance, resources, and willingness to underwrite honest mistakes and shortfalls.

Without clarity and buy-in on the common good, people will move in unproductive directions. If people do not believe they have agency, they won’t make decisions. Unless you provide top cover, people will be afraid that you’ll throw them under the bus.

What action steps are you taking to promote better practices?

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