In my first job after college, one of my coworkers kept records of good routines he saw in various distribution centers in the company. He called it his best practice database, and at its simplest it could be used to share ideas across geographic locations. I hear the term leading practice much more frequently today. Are leading practices embedded in processes? Tell me what leading companies are doing. We want to be a leading organization. Both ‘best’ and ‘leading’ are loaded words in the absence of context (best in what, relative to whom, over which time period), and too many organizations expect overly-dramatic results after making a single change to ‘leading practice’ in an isolated area.

“In some cases, it doesn’t make sense to be satisfied with the present, when what worked in the past still works.” –Put This On

Awareness of proven practices may be more useful. Knowing what has worked well can be powerful, provided you understand the critical components of the ecosystem and recognize the evolution of trends. Recognizing best demonstrated performance for ‘you’ may be even more important. What has proven successful for you? What do you need to do your best work? What can you change in your environment? Only then should you pursue leading practices and only those aligned to your goals.