Learn the value of casting off the commitment to best practices and outdated procedures that no longer add value. Explore the dangers of following the same path as competitors and neglecting to recognize the impact of change on markets, products, customers, and teams.
- Ask any company strategist, and they will proudly tell you that they adhere to industry best practices, and their companies have likely shelled out big bucks for benchmarking studies, research to ensure their practices are fully aligned with those that are widely accepted. They are doing things considered to be the correct way to get optimal results. But what if this tradition for following the standard is now losing its impact? Today's most successful leaders are deconstructing the concept of best practices, and they've made several valuable observations. At the very core, best practices aren't a one-size-fits-all solution. What works brilliantly for one company doesn't always work for another one, but the truth is, we're conditioned to imitate success. It seems like a smart way to grab a piece of the pie without having to bake it. Unfortunately, when leaders try to cut and paste industry standards and apply them to their own companies, they might find a meaningful disconnect. Beyond that, best practices are now going stale faster than ever before. They have a limited shelf life, and it's getting shorter all the time. If leaders don't actively evaluate the effectiveness of an adopted best practice, their teams can end up drowning in practices that no longer serve them. People simply don't notice when the results start to drop off. So what's the solution? Today's most successful leaders appreciate the intrinsic value of best practices, but they don't consider them to be hard-and-fast rules. They approach them with a respectful grain of salt. Here are three strategies to help you cast off the blind commitment to best practices. First, be strategic about applying new industry standards. Step back and think objectively about best practices before you adopt them. What purpose do they serve, for you, for your team, for your customers? Will they really benefit your organization? If they don't add a value, don't try to force them in. Second, reevaluate the best practices in your organization today. Are your team members using processes and procedures that may have become outdated or obsolete? Is there a better way, or could you eliminate them altogether? Be deliberate about rethinking all of it. Third, get comfortable with being a rebel. Challenge yourself to create alternatives that don't fall in line with a cookie cutter version of success, not being different for the sake of being different, but developing well-though-out strategies with a counter-intuitive approach, maybe even reverse benchmarking, doing the exact opposite of your competitors. Sometimes that's the best way to set your company apart. Don't be afraid to defy conventional wisdom if it can help you increase customers, market share, and profit. Successful leaders today don't allow themselves to be chained down by the standards that are readily accepted by everyone else. They know how to guide their teams into unchartered territory, and their willingness to differentiate in a sometimes radical way comes with the potential for extraordinary success.
- Adopting the strategic pause
- Disrupting your thinking
- Balancing hard data with soft intelligence
- Reevaluating your to-do list
- Communicating to influence and engage
- Approaching challenges as a novice
- Blazing new trails
- Conquering the chaos
- Enduring leadership attributes