Management Tip of the Day: The allure of best practices

Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:12pm EDT
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BOSTON (Reuters) - Simply adopting the best practices that other companies in your industry have determined might not be all it's cracked up to be, says Harvard Business Review.

The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and ( Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

"Best practices are alluring. If other companies have already determined the best way to do something, why not just do what they did?

But before you run off to collect best practices from the leader in your industry, ask these three questions:

1. What are the downsides? Implementing a practice that worked elsewhere isn't necessarily a slam dunk. Think through the potential disadvantages and figure out how to mitigate them.

2. Is success truly attributable to the benchmark practice? There are many reasons a company succeeds. It is unlikely that emulating one practice of an industry leader will give your company the same success.

3. Are the conditions similar at your organization? For best practices to be transferrable, businesses need to have key similarities: strategy, business model, and workforce."

- Today's management tip was adapted from the book "Harvard Business Review on Making Smart Decisions."

(For the full post, see: here)

<p>A student shows another how to smile during an etiquette training class at a vocational school in Beijing January 7, 2008. REUTERS/David Gray</p>