The Worst Thing About Best Practices, by Michael W. McLaughlin. I've added my own links to Mr. Mclaughlin's article to expand on his ideas.
"Here are four reasons you should dump best practices:
- They rarely work. A company's best practices work in the context of its business processes, culture, systems and people. Plucking a best practice and trying to graft it onto another organization will produce unpredictable results.
- It's a follower's strategy. In an era of demands for innovative products and services, why give your customers recycled answers? A company that really wants a customer order process that looks like everyone else's is likely to lose the battle of market differentiation. Relying on best practices will doom your customers to mediocrityin the long run, and hurt your reputation as well.
- Change comes from within. People rarely respond well to implementing some other company's ideas. In fact, having best practices come down from on high usually causes resentment. Let people create their own solutions using their in-depth knowledge of the company's customers, suppliers, employees and processes. That will result in ownership of the ideas and determination to get results.
- They don't come with a manual. Business books and benchmark reports are full of snippets about best practices, yet they rarely explain what to do with them. You may have read that it's a best practice to process a customer product return in 24 hours, but there's little guidance for meeting that objective. It's also quite possible that the organizational change necessary for your customer to achieve the goal isn't even remotely feasible."
Hat tip to Jonnie Moore for the article.