Friday, March 15, 2013

Change: Best Practices vs. Better Practices


           Change:  Best Practices vs. Better Practices

Throughout my career, I've heard the line "we are looking for BEST in class or BEST Practices".  The need to focus on benchmarks, set by other people has really never made sense to me.  It seemed to make more sense to set the bar ourselves and seek to continually become the "leaders in the field", rather than have someone else set the bar. I could never quite figure out how to best put that into words until recently.

Mark Sandborn, author and renowned Leadership and Teamwork expert puts it this way...

He explains that the concept of best practices always needs a qualifier – best practices … for now …that we know of…given this set of  circumstances….

He goes on to point out today’s best practices are next week’s second best practices and next month’s obsolete practices.

Sanborn suggests rather than  a focus on best practices we should seek to establish better practices and next practices.

Better practices: how can we do what we (or the competition) are doing now, but simply do it better?

Next practices: how can we change the game?

Change is not easy, as we've discussed.

Many companies become hamstrung by this fixation on having BEST practices.  This can be crippling for growth as management often cannot agree upon what is "best", by definition by application.

So what happens?  They send their people off to keep looking.  This fosters non-decision, stagnation, inefficiencies and frustration among the ranks.

It is easy to do what you have always done. It is easy to do what you claim is industry best practices.
It is tougher to do what Sanborn suggests, and that is to continually set the bar by establishing better practices and next practices.

What if the focus was more so on BETTER practices...keeping the company moving forward, using "continuous improvement" and Six Sigma methodolgies? 

Six Sigma Improvement Process = Define, Measure, Anaylze, Improve, Control 

Isn't BETTER practices an improvement over never finding BEST?

At Reign Print Solutions, we are driven to help our clients navigate operational and marketing print/communication that change can be scalable, measureable and deliberate, and not based upon fear of the unknown (which results in stagnation).