Critique of Best Practices

“Best Practices” are often adopted and forcefully pushed in big and small organizations.

Liz Ryan wrote an article on LinkedIn, The Truth About Best Practices.
It quite resonates with me.
In short: The Best Practices/Addiction to Yardsticks mentality is … pathological.

Here are some excerpts that I like:

We are addicted to yardsticks in the business world. We have adopted the religion of yardsticks so fervently that we’ve forgotten we made up the yardsticks and can shift, tweak or abandon them any time we like. Once a business yardstick is in place, we treat it like a sacred object.

…– we contort ourselves and people around us into pretzel shapes every day. We design processes to be uniform and routine, as though we believed that humans and machines worked the same way. A lot of them get labelled Best Practices and shared far and wide.

Mindless process and any policy that doesn’t directly make an organization more responsive and more human does the same thing. It sucks energy (read: cash) from a business more effectively than our competitors ever could.

Best Practices are one more part of the toxic Godzilla structure of protocols, rules and policies that sucks the life out of businesses, government agencies and not-for-profit agencies everywhere you look.

It seems to me that this is quite so, and not only in business.

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