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The Threat of Best Practices
Best practices are, well, best . . . until they're not.
How can best practices be a threat to good strategy? Aren’t they the result of a large number of organizations independently converging on and continually refining the best solutions? Isn’t that what makes best practices, “best”?
The problem is that organizations often follow practices and rules without really understanding why they’re following them, beyond popularity or appearance of success.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t take the standards of our industry or field seriously, or that we can’t make progress by integrating their best practices into our organization’s work.
Yet as I discovered the hard way early in my career, efficiency and imitation, even of the best, only get us so far. We won’t succeed simply by optimizing the status quo.
In these 5-minute episodes of The Successful Strategist, I explore why best practices can – and eventually will – “lead to dead ends,” as Peter Thiel warns. Follow the links to the individual episdoes, and subscribe on any major podcast app.
The Threat of Best Practices (S3:E2)
A Strength Is Not an Advantage (S1:E5)
Peter Thiel on best practices
Today's best practices lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried.
Organizations Need Strategy Audits
A large majority of strategic plans at best simply repeat best practices, ensuring that they’re neither “strategic” nor even really “plans.”
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