Best Practices – What Makes Them ‘Best’?

Sweet painting!
Not much to do with the post, but great art.

Remember being lectured by your mom or dad on the theme of peer pressure? ‘If everyone jumped off a cliff would you?” It’s a rhetorical question until you become a young professional, and then for some reason it flips…you are supposed to do what everyone does and its called a ‘best practice’. While I can’t explore all these dynamics at present, I can touch on the ‘just made up’ breakdown of the types of best practices that help me determine when to shut off my ears and go back to reading blogs on my phone.

  1. Gravity Best Practices – Some ‘best practices’ really are just good ideas/conclusions…like gravity. This is not a bad thing and I am grateful for wise people distilling down these ideas for non-experts like myself. However, gravity best practices go south fast when someone writes an article or does a keynote in the vein of ‘leadership’ and you could swear they are just reading those inspirational corporate posters from the 80’s.
  2. Lemming Best Practices – It’s hard to go against the crowd. If I opened a new restaurant, I would hire people to stand outside for the first month or so. Ideas often gain traction because of consensus rather than merit. Many, many ideas fall into this category. A non-exhaustive quick list includes: pet rocks, allowing 38million+ people into CA (water!), prohibition, and running an iPhone update the day it comes out. It’s important to not follow the crowd at times…we all know this, apply #1 type of best practice here.
  3. Hallmark Best Practices – Lots of best practices are like ‘Hallmark Holidays’, where someone is making money off of them becoming popular practices. These are the kinds to be leery of and perhaps the most common in business circles. A’la  self-proclaimed expert from Florida at the Inuit (eskimo, not a PC term) convention in Barrow, Alaska claiming there is a better way to make ice.

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