I agree; ‘best practices’ are stupid.

18 April

Best practices are stupid

I love the crossovers of interest that I share with my husband; a context-driven software tester who answers the question “Is there a problem here?”. We had a great conversation one day about the term ‘Best Practice’. I’m fairly sure I was giving out about the jargon filled world of business communication. ‘Best Practice’ is a classic example of meaningless, business lingo.

We came to the conclusion that ‘Best Practice’ is a jargon phrase used by lazy people who want to follow formulas and not exercise their brains.

Let’s try and understand what the phrase means – the best solution to x problem? Surely ‘Best Practice’ has to be different to different people, at different times and in different situations? Therefore, it is required to be a fluid thing. ‘Best’ doesn’t leave much room for improvement or innovation in my mind. Your ‘Best Practice’ is not necessarily my ‘Best Practice. I can learn from you but there’s absolutely no use in me blindly copying a set of procedures which produced a positive result for you.

Appreciative Inquiry is an alternative approach
which I describe in my previous post. This technique approaches problem solving in a radically different way. There is no rule-book for this adaptive approach. If you value the best of ‘what is’, it opens the way to continually dream and design a better business.

Stephen’s book popped through our letterbox this morning. I’m excited to read it and share some of my favourite insights. The first sentence in the table of contents is ‘Innovate the way you innovate’. I’m hooked already!

Buy the book:
Best practices are stupid, by Stephen M Shapiro.

I am a human marketer who trains businesses how to engage meaningfully on the web. I offer a range of workshops and one to one tuition. Find out more.