Why best practice isn’t always the best practice

Paul Hunter from the Institute of Strategic Management tells LeadingCompany, an unthinking focus on best practice can undermine the strategic positioning of a company.

The reason for this is very simple.

“Best practice is about standardisation,” Hunter says. “It doesn’t provide any basis for competitive advantage. It’s just about becoming as efficient as the next person.”

But of course, if everyone does the same thing, the competition sees everyone’s margins get squeezed.

When you’re looking at a particular industry, each competitor should have different strategy, explains Chris Dubelaar, a marketing professor at Bond University. “If everyone has the same strategy some of the firms are going to die.”

Companies who copy their competitors could even end up helping the opposition, Dubelaar continues.

“If you’re copying your competition, you can end up helping them by giving them additional credibility,” he says.

If you have ever wondered why I’m not keen on benchmarking – particularly around intranets – this goes to someway of explaining why. This article also talks about when best practice is useful.


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