Students would often come to one of my ski school classes and ask “Am I doing it right?” I would ask “Are you having fun?” Normally the answer was yes, in which case the student IS doing it right. My job was to identify improvement opportunities and put a lesson plan in place that would lead to MORE fun.
The analogous question in business is “Is your organization a going concern?” (Going concern is an accounting term that describes a company that has the resources needed to continue operating.) Normally, businesses ARE going concerns. The general idea is to afford more resources and have more fun…maybe on a rewarding ski trip with the team.
So it is less a question about doing things right or wrong than an issue of knowing when, where, and how to do better. The concept of the Best Practices Continuum illustrates the journey from doing something badly to doing it perfectly. On the far left side are “bad” practices – those that are standing in the way of reaching organizational goals. On the far right side are “perfect” practices – the area of silver bullets, magic, and unicorns. After all, there is no such thing as a perfect practice that guarantees results and has zero risk. Conversely, the only truly bad practices are those that are unlawful or abusive.
Before jumping directly to best practices, know where you are organizationally and culturally. Going direct from OK to Best is like going from the bunny slope to the steepest mogul run. It takes time, commitment, practice, and coaching to get there. Jumping straight to best practices may cause more harm than good.
- What results are you trying to achieve?
- Where are the process and resource gaps that are standing in the way?
- What is the plan for improvement?
If you could use some help articulating goals, identifying gaps, and putting an improvement plan together…