Add value: Create "best practices" (because people don't know what they don't know)

By William Seidman I run into a paradox in my work helping companies define and create “best practices.” People often want to plunge in – try something – without any planning. When I push back they say they will create a best practice once they have worked on it for a while and know the best practices. The biggest problem with this (besides that it’s expensive) is that you don’t know what you don’t know. What I hear is:

  • “We don’t know much about what we’re going to do.”
  • “We’re worried about the time it will take to do it. But there’s no reason to make a plan!”
  • “When we’re totally screwed up by having tried something without thinking about it in advance, we’ll need time out to think. But we’ll be in a reactive mode then, with no time to think.”
Ouch. What can you do about this problem within your group or organization?
  • Invite people to imagine emergency response services without planning or exercises. Pretty convincing!
  • Make a time and energy commitment to thinking and planning.
  • Ask hard questions and devote time to answering them.
There are usually fewer unknowns in the future than you might have thought, if you can use current expertise to define and create “best practices” going forward.]]>

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