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Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Business Blog
This Focused Performance Weblog started life as a "business management blog" containing links and commentary related primarily to organizational effectiveness with a "Theory of Constraints" perspective, but is in the process of evolving towards primary content on interactive and mobile marketing. Think of it as about Focusing marketing messages for enhanced Performance. If you are on an archive page, current postings are found here.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

More on Best Practices -- Yesterday, I pointed to Johanna Rothman's piece on Best Practices. So did Heath Row over on the Fast Company Now weblog, posing the question...
"How do you tailor other organizations' best practices to best meet the needs of your company and work?"
Unfortuately, the question is too often posed as Heath does -- as an issue of transplanting best practices with tailoring or tweaking rather than one of creating your own best practices grown from your own needs and values. The value of other organizations' best practices is not in knowing what to do in your own, but as examples of the kind of thinking that might be going on in the original user organization -- examples useful primarily for mind-bending and mind-opening regarding possibilities of performance. The value of others' best practices are embedded in their relationship to their constraints, which are not your constraints, and how they have defined their desired strategic constraints, which should not be yours, if you want to do anything more than simply play catch up.

That said, if you still feel compelled to try to copy someone else's solution, there are two tools in the tailor's kit -- two questions -- "Why should we NOT do what they do?" and "Why can't we do more than they do?"

The first question is about reservations, concerns, and possible undesirable side-effects, the answers to which will add to the borrowed practice for a solution that better fits your own environment, and at the same time address resistance from those stakeholders who harbor those concerns.

The second question is about making the "best" better for your environment, pushing challenge and ambition into the mix to take your application of the practice beyond what has been done elsewhere. The route for doing that is not so much in the bench-marking of competitors or users of practices, but rather "bench-marketing" -- studying the limiting "best practices" of your customers and markets. By doing so, you can target the application of new practices of your own to help them do more by using you.

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