5 Issues with “Best Practices”

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Everyone knows about “best practices” when it comes to the business world. Everyone knows about them because they have been, more or less, unchanged for years even as the way we do business is changing almost monthly. While there is certainly a lot of truth and knowledge to be gained from these practices, they’re not as useful as everyone claims them to be. Below are 5 major issues with the practice of following best practices.

  • They rarely ever work: The sad truth is that even though best practices are seen as the best, they never work as much as we’d like them to. This isn’t to say that they never work, just that they’re most effective when dealing with specific issues, people, and systems. Make sure you’re not applying these best practices blindly across the board or you’ll find that they might not fit the problem you’re dealing with and very well may not work.
  • It’s for followers, not leaders: One of the major issues with best practices is that it isn’t for leaders and people who become them. Best practices are handed down from previous leaders and generations and cut down on creativity and ingenuity. If you’re having an issue that needs solving, look to use the newly created technologies and knowledge that are available to you instead drawing from a playbook that may have been written when the internet was still in its infancy. Also know that different generations require different approaches for maximum efficiency and millennials are more complicated than most.
  • They cut down on innovation: If you had a book that gave you answers to all of your problems, why on earth would you spend the time, resources, and energy looking for new solutions when you have pre-existing ones? One of the issues with best practices is that people use them without even bothering to improve on them or try new, better solutions that may come from their own team.
  • Change is internal and cultural: Many best practices are applied in companies that they were not created in. For change to be effective, it needs to come from within the company and probably has to change the company culture a bit. People can get resentful if they feel the heavy and foreign hand of another company.
  • They don’t come with a manual: Just because you have found some practices that would definitely help your company doesn’t mean you’ve won. Many best practices don’t actually come with advice in regards to how to implement them effectively and efficiently. You might be aiming for the right target but you end up taking the wrong path, you very well may cause more harm than good.

While these are 5 issues with best practices, that’s not to say that they’re bad. There is definitely knowledge to be gleaned from the experiences and solutions afforded by best practices and the people who came up with them. Just remember to take them all with a grain of salt and make sure you try to fit them to your company and situation instead of the other way around.

If you’d like to read and learn more, you can do so here.

How To Build A Strong Company Culture

The key to a successful business is happy employees. The key to happy employees is a strong company culture. 

When people are happy to come in to work every day, it makes them want to do better. Enjoying your office space and work surrounding is so important. By keeping employees happy and comfortable in the office, they will perform better.

Now that you know why its so important, here are some ways that you can improve your company culture:

Creative work space — Non traditional office spaces evoke creative work out of employees. Sure, having a desk and personal space to get your work done is important, but collaborative spaces have also proven to boost company culture.

Create a common space where employees can go to work when they need a change of pace. Everyone works differently, perhaps some employees would do better with a standing up desk option, while others might prefer to work on a couch with a lap top. You are doing your company a dis service to limit these kind of options. 

Flexible work hours — As I mentioned before, everyone is different. Not every employee will come in and do their best work from 9-5. Some people are feeling energized and ready to work really early in the morning and might like to come into the office around 7AM, while others cannot be productive in any capacity before noon. Grant the flexibility to your employees and watch the work quality sky rocket.

Foster an environment where people want to be — If employees enjoy the space that they work in, they will perform better. Company culture doesn’t come out of nowhere. It is up to the employees to participate. Hold weekly contests for some friendly office competition, start some clubs in the office that people can attend after work hours. For example, a yoga club led by someone in the office who is particularly fond of yoga. Wednesdays at 6 you all meet in the lounge and engage in a relaxing session before going home for the day. Not only are you potentially learning a new skill, you’re spending time with people from your office in a non work related way, allowing you room to get know your coworkers.

Social activities out side of office — Incentivize employees to meet goals with group outings as the reward. Happy hours are a great and easy thing to plan to celebrate the hard work of your employees that also goes along well with my last mentioned point. When people like the people that they work with, they are more inclined to come in and do their best. When they really enjoy to be where the work, they will go the extra mile. They will stay late to get some extra work done because their friends are staying late as well.