Best Practices

Best Practices (Part 1)

When I first started in business, I kept hearing the term “best practices” used almost as if there was a commodity that you could go and buy off the shelf to install in your company.  Did these come in a set, or were they individual units that required assembly.  Each time I asked about this mystery ingredient for great business, I got a different answer.

Some people seemed to suggest that it was a packaged tool set, others suggested a recipe and yet others referred to systems, processes and procedures.  All of these were right, to a degree, but did not really define what best practices were or where I would find them.

Our definition:
Best Practices are the defined methodologies aligned to an objective that drive the desired results with the greatest consistency.  
We employ best practices as habit in our everyday life.  A best practice for me is putting my keys in the same place every time.  Breaking it down – the objective is efficient use of time.  Consistency – same place every time.  Consequence:  Using the best practice wastes no time looking for keys.  Not using the best practice means time wasted and mood altered with potential of being late for my destination.  When there is a fail or interruption that occurs when the best practice is not used, there is a compounding effect to the problems that will result.  In the case of the best practices with keys, there is now a greater likelihood that something else will be forgotten because the rhythm has been broken, time will be stolen from something else and that the door seems to be open for other challenges.

There are simple best practices such as the routine of the keys above and far more complex processes that may be multidimensional.  It is a part of the role of leadership to develop, define and maintain best practices in a company utilizing the resources and talent in those directly using and or impacted by the result. 

Best practices do not insure or give a guarantee of results only a greater likelihood of achievement in an efficient and effective manner.    Best practices also age, need review and updating and and may need to be retired when no longer relevant or necessary due to other business changes.  Like all other cogs in a business machine, best practices potentially impact many other components in the business. 

This month, our blog series will focus on best practices.  We will address the leadership role, definition, management, accountability, results, maintenance and making sure that best practices in place due not stifle innovation.  Some of our blogs will use vignettes to tell the story.  Mallie Hart will take to the blog keyboard sharing her expertise regarding Internet and Social best practices including protecting your company, professional and personal reputation.  She will also address the rules of engagement and sharing.  This will be a fun and meaty series, comments and questions are welcome.