Best Practices or Reinventing the Wheel

How many times have you heard “Let’s not reinvent the wheel”?  It’s a tried and true approach to use other’s ideas or processes to help move a company forward. Most companies trying for process improvements or other improvements look to the “Big Boys” for guidance.


Best Practices is a method that is used to help develop or change an organization and the expected outcome is better results, faster.  That may not always be the case.

“Others before us—notably Bob Sutton and Jeffrey Pfeffer at Stanford, Adrian Wooldridge at the Economist, and Phil Rosenzweig at IMD—have issued warnings about best-practice traps and management-theory fads.1 Yet the desire to emulate is often stronger than mere rationality, even in the face of repeated evidence that most companies won’t achieve the anticipated outcomes and that some will suffer a hard fall. Research by our colleagues, for instance, has shown that lockstep benchmarking may lead to “herding” effects that, over time, diminish emulators’ margins.” Source: The perils of best practice: Should you emulate Apple? – McKinsey Quarterly – Strategy – Innovation

So before you go down the trail of R&D (Rip-off and Duplicate) Best Practices, please consider the effect or outcomes that may or may not materialize. Every business is a little bit different and therefore a “custom approach” may actually generate real results much quicker than Best Practices.  


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