The illusion of best practices
When we are kids, we like to believe that world is a simple place.
Our teacher in playgroup or prep or nursery classes would tell us that “Sun rises from the East and sets in the West”. We like this simple concept because it is in accordance with our daily observation and more importantly it is an easy concept to digest for a kid of just a few years age.
As we grow, we are told that Sun is not rotating but it is our Earth that rotates which gives us an effect of Sunrise and Sunset. As we get into higher classes, we are told that Earth also rotates around it’s own orbit and Sun has many other planets. We are then told that Solar system is just one of the so many Galaxies in the space. We are told that we are living in an ever expanding Universe and we are told of something known as Black Holes and theories of Big Bang. We are told that we are not certain if we are expanding or moving to a certain point or we are just hanging around. This very complex nature of the Universe is simplified for us as kids to believe that world is easy: “Sun rises from the East and sets in the West”.
Similarly when we start our professional study or professional career, we like to believe that world is a simple place. There are some rules that if we follow, we can be successful in our business. If we add these magical lines in our CVs, we’ll get our dream jobs. If we network in these best ways, we can excel in anything we want to achieve. We tend to believe that there are some “best practices” that if we get to know and master them, we’ll be the champions in what we do.
This is as simplified version of the world as simplifying the Universe to Sun rises and Sun sets.
The only best practice is that there is no best practice
This Dilbert strip was taken from here: http://theleanthinker.com/2013/12/31/the-problem-with-best-practices/
What we forget when we are in search of best practices is that world is a complex place. Each individual has it’s own strengths and weaknesses, each of us operate in a different region of the world in contrasting cultures, each of us have different values and different meanings of the outcome. What works for me may not work for you. What we need to do is to understand the situation, apply some practices, evaluate the results and keep tweaking them.
You may be tricked to say that see here is the best practice:
Understand the situation, apply some practices, evaluate the results and keep tweaking them
If you are thinking in this way, this is due to the reason that we don’t want to leave our childhood and we love stories and we love simplified versions of the world. The above is not a best practice.
What are your thoughts on best practices?