Best Practices (Part 13)
This month I spent a week with my son, daughter-in-law, their son and newborn daughter. While I admit to being rusty in the baby and toddler care departments, I am always amazed at how much things have changed. The best practices we knew were not necessarily wrong, but not necessarily the best for these times.
In our businesses, best practices need to be kept current. Periodic looks at the best practices in place will lead to some changes, which may be modifications or full scale change. Keeping best practices current also requires communicating and training the changes so that they are fully implemented. It is a process and not an event.
You have morphed many best practices over time and probably not thought much about it. Take photography as an example. I do not know about you but it has been a lot of years since I took film to be developed and printed. The best practices you may have had implemented took into account the cost, lag time for processing and that you had to manually work with the photos once they came back. You also had to store them in a way that you could find what you wanted in a reasonable manner. Now, using digital technology, all of that has changed including how you share the photos you take. The new best practices for businesses related to photography are certainly different and have all but replaced everything you may have had before.
I was reminded yesterday of another practice that has changed when a person asked me to send a “wet” signature on an agreement. Almost everything is now digitally signed and sent via email or through services that track the signatures. This one, being a more recent and accepted change, probably has not been changed in many company operations manuals, training and staff orientation.
Best practices must become the standards of the company but must be able to evolve systematically to meet new requirements, embrace new technologies and take advantage of better methods.
A good example is the printing of documents that are sent and transacted by email. Companies that are able to help their people reduce paper dependency can reduce costs in paper, toner and demand for copiers. Using good digital document processes also reduces errors that are made by having multiple live documents floating at once.
There are many other examples but perhaps one that comes to the top of mind is financial management. A company I was working with today is very concerned about using Internet based financial tools and account management. Their best practices while very good, do not embrace efficiencies they could realize. The impact is a cost and time issue. Their transition will require gaining comfort in the security of online banking and transactions.
All in all it comes back to focusing on the definition of best practices we gave in the first post of this series. “Best Practices are the defined methodologies aligned to an objective that drive the desired results with the greatest consistency.”
This post concludes the best practices series. Best practices can be found throughout our blog posts. The July series is called "Christmas in July = Dollars in December". In the month of July we will look at the drivers that will churn dollars. Think of it as mid-year business plan review.