Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hold On a Minute...

CLO magazine has a good, quick article that highlights what I think is an important point, especially for WLP professionals to consider. The article discusses the pitfalls of implementing best practices, especially in the information age, when those practices could change every other month, if not more.

I think this point is similar to an answer I once heard a corporate executive give in response to the question: "Why don't we have a company vision statement?" The executive's response was that by creating a vision statement, and following that sort of guiding principle for the company, and all that comes with it, there is the potential for the company to lose the very focus it seeks. There are surely disagreements with this, and anything properly policed will tend to function well over time. But the implicit point behind the response is regarding company culture, and in my anecdote the company in question was one that had never previously adopted vision statements. No small thing for a very large international corporation to just decide to create a vision, and then organize everything to meet that mold.

I find that the CLO article relates in that relying too heavily on best practices - especially very highly detailed ones - could have the opposite effect, in "legalizing" specific ways of conducting major, common work. And if these practices are given too much weight, who will be in control of these practices, and how is the inevitable force of change going to be accounted for?

No, I'm not advocating a wholesale jettison of the best practices concept. The point is, like many initiatives, these will have to exist at the right level, and be malleable enough that they can change without internal cultural or productive disruption.

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