Best Practice – Is That Really What You Want?

Running a strategic consulting business for the high-tech supply chain, I encounter many companies who ask me to institute the “best-practice” for their particular need or business segment. The term “best- practice“ has almost become synonymous with success. I hate to be the one to break the bad news to these executives, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Sure, I can take a concept from any one of the successful companies I have worked for and slam it into your organization, but does that truly guarantee success?

Generally, when an executive client wants to take the best-practice route, I ask them these three questions:

1)      Can they afford the down-side associated with the so-called best-practice? Sure, it worked elsewhere, but not all business environments are equal. In fact, none are. Using a best-practice process is great, but this is also an opportunity to assess any down-side this process change will create and mitigate those areas ahead of time in order to drive the maximum benefit from the change.

2)      Can the industry leader who developed the best-practice truly attribute their success to this one business practice? Probably not. I usually encourage my clients to take a holistic approach to change rather than a “me-too”, one and done best-practice strategy.

3)      Can the best-practice be transferred to your organization? In order for a best-practice to make the impact anticipated, the environment it is being implemented into needs to have certain similar characteristics of work force and business model to the company that developed the best-practice. If not, I usually suggest a strategy that will work in my client’s organization today, with a migration plan to the best-practice go forward. In this way, the client company gets the best of both worlds. Success today and a platform for continued success for the future.

In short, adopting best-practice strategies are great, but getting the best result for your organization should drive your overall strategy when considering this option.