The Harvard Business Review blog has an interesting article Which Best Practice is Killing Your Business? which starts with the example of how the “quality” newspapers in Britain hung onto the impractical “broadsheet” format for years without realizing that it was hurting their sales. This “best practice” had first developed 300 years ago at a time when taxes were paid on the number of pages a newspaper printed, and as a result newspapers made their pages bigger and bigger.
The taxes had long-since been abolished, but the practice held on. The Times, Guardian, FT, Telegraph and Independent all assumed that they needed the broadsheet form factor to distinguish themselves from the Tabloids. But they were wrong!
Best Practice is, by definition, Past Practice. It works well when things don’t change much. But there are few areas where that is the case now. As John Kotter writes, “The rate of change in the world today is going up… And what’s particularly important is that it’s not just going up. It’s increasingly going up not just in a linear slant, but almost exponentially. And as things speed up, that means more stuff gets changing out there, and organizations to prosper have to react to that. You can’t still do things the way you’ve done in the past and grab opportunities or avoid hazards that come at you. And organizations are not very good at changing.”
Because of this, I predict that the focus of businesses will increasingly shift from Best Practice to Best People. In turbulent and chaotic times, the quality of decisions made will depend much more on the individual decision makers and much less on having the best policies and procedures manuals.
You want employees who:
- Feel empowered to make decisions
- Work well as part of a team
- Understand the overall business imperatives – their own role and the roles of others
- Can ‘make the main thing the main thing’ – ie maintain perspective and focus
- Can be flexible in their thinking and doing
- Are ready to learn
If that seems a long way from where you are now, you are certainly not alone. But implementing a state of the art Talent Leadership system like the Enhancing Their Gifts System™can help you get there. To find out more, contact Mike Lowe directly, or register for a complimentary demonstration clinic, conducted online by Ian Berry by clicking on the link below.
Helping individuals and teams get into flow