Cheryl Ives

Best Practices are ideas someone else came up with in the past with which they had some success. Let's break that down:

What makes their ideas "best"? You have ideas, too. They might be better.

Someone else:
Best Practices don't apply directly to you. They were created for someone else's issues and circumstances

Came up with:
"They" thought of these ideas already.The approaches aren't original and are widely known. There's no competitive advantage, just catchup.

In the Past:
The circumstances under which the Best Practices were created no longer exist. Those circumstances were unique and are in the past.

Other people in other circumstances used this practice and achieved what THEY were hoping for. The leap to your own definition of success can be huge.

Had some success:
Will you get what they got if you do what they did? Probably not after all, when they did it, it was in response to their own situation, under different conditions. Either way, is "some success" worth the time, person-power and disruption of adapting your environment to the "best practice"? Or do you have loftier goals for your resources?

That's why the actual originators of every Best Practice have evolved it or moved on. While you chase their tails, buying books their consultants wrote, hiring training empires built around their ideas, trying to figure out what they did, you are missing out on what YOU would do if YOU were the originator. What if your innovation isn't just your product?

What if HOW you do things becomes as unique as what you do?

Stop chasing the pack. Pick the race.

What about learning from others?
If you really want to spend time with other people's ideas, don't ask what they did. Ask what they were doing and why they were doing it. Try to distill the Best Principles.

It's not that we can't learn from what others have done, and save ourselves from reinventing the wheel. But if we rely on competitor's designs, we put ourselves into their game instead of creating our own. Nowhere is this more apparent than in people practice.

Ask employees, and they will tell you it's pretty much the same everywhere. Now, there's a competitive advantage waiting to happen! One of many opportunities that get missed when some practices are arbitrarily held up as "best" and we stop thinking about what could be better.

Our first step is to forget what we're supposed to do, and focus on what we can do, together.