I think the current life cycle of a ‘best practice’ is a month or so. And this is benevolent. In the old days ‘best practice’ was a way to copy the good things that others have done. Like benchmarking, they were rear view mirrors of a race already won by somebody else. Today, if you navigate in ‘best practice’ and ‘benchmarking’ mode, you’ll perhaps be able to stay afloat, but will never win the race.
OK, these concepts are not going to disappear. But they will not come up any more in the format of big conferences, big retrospective dossiers and other forms of rear view mirror management.
You see ‘best practices’ by reading them in social media, by reading some books, by subscribing to cool newsletters and blogs, by having lots of free Google alerts. They are there in front of you in great quantity, for you to seal, copy, get inspired, frustrated, dismiss them or fall in love, all in one afternoon if you wish.
If you are still fond of these two sisters, Best Practice and Benchmarking, invite them for dinner, have a chat, see what they have to say, have some fun, and call it a day. Don’t let them live with you permanently. They are charming and other people may fall in love with them. Before you know it, they will take over the house.
A key strategic question for you (company, group, team, individual) is: are we benchmarkable? Would anybody see this as best practice?
If the answer is yes to all, congratulations, but remember it won’t last. Plan your next ‘ahead of the game’ move.
If the answer is no, I am very sorry to hear that, my condolences, let me know the time and place for the funeral.