When a Best Practice isn’t

by Fritz Hibbler on July 5, 2010 · 0 comments

in General

Implementing a best practice is a proven way to give your organization a distinctive competitive advantage. However, contrary to popular belief, you can’t forklift another company’s best practice and make it your own. It doesn’t work that way. The only way to get the full benefit of a best practice is to create your own. Imitate someone else’s isn’t going to give your company a true advantage.

Just because a company’s best practice gives them a distinctive competitive advantage, doesn’t mean that same best practice will work in your company. A best practice is an optimized process that maximizes results within the constraints and confines of a specific organization. Best practices are based on your processes, culture, value and strategy.

There is more to a best practice than what meets the eye. Think of a best practice as an iceberg. You see the tip of it above the water, but what you don’t see is its massive support system underwater. Also don’t think of a best practice as a free-standing activity.  A best practice is a process that’s highly dependent on your company’s internal systems and operational nuances. Because best practices are comprised of idiosyncratic interdependent processes, it’s impossible achieve a high level of success by plucking a best practice out of a company and plopping it into your company.

To obtain a true competitive advantage a best practice has to be based on your company’s culture, strengths, weaknesses and operations.  It’s the process of building a best practice from scratch that makes it a competitive benefit for your company. Not copying someone else’s.

When building a best practice a company needs to analyze, assess and optimize the processes that comprise it. Building a best practice based on your company’s operations is what creates your competitive edge. A best practice is the result of your strategy being realized by optimizing your operations. That’s something that can’t be achieved through a copy and paste.

What do you think? Post your comments.

What do leaders know?

by Fritz Hibbler on June 9, 2010 · 0 comments

in General

A week ago, I read a very insightful post on BNET (http://www.bnet.com) by Margaret Heffernan entitled “Why Every Leader Needs a Third Opinion” (http://blogs.bnet.com/management/?p=1664&tag=nl.e713). In her post, Ms Heffernan states that leaders are bright people, with an abundance of experience and expertise. She goes on to say if leaders don’t continually grow, expand and develop their skill sets, especially in light of the turbulent, uncharted waters of today’s business environment, they will become ineffective. To help leaders maintain their skills and abilities, Ms Heffernan urges them to cultivate a network of advisors and mentors who are outside of their company’s technical and managerial teams.

According to Heffernan, leaders need help “replenishing their stores of expertise.” She cites Saj-Nicole Joni, a well known executive coach, who argues that leaders need advice from third parties who are unbiased, outside the industry, and has the leader’s (and the company’s) best interest at heart. The type of advice leaders need isn’t necessarily tactical in nature, rather it’s strategic; the kind of advice that helps leaders to insightfully and profoundly plan the future of their company.

I couldn’t agree more with Heffernan and Joni – great leaders have always looked for advice and guidance outside of their inner circle. However, those leaders who are secure enough with themselves to seek outside advice are a rare breed. All too often, when leaders undertake an organizational transformation they don’t seek external advice. After all, it’s their company, and they know all the warts. Why bring in an outsider to tell them what they already know? So for whatever reason – pride, embarrassment, stubbornness, or mistrust very few organizations solicit “third party” opinions during an organizational transformation.

It’s unfortunate that more companies don’t seek outside help for strategic initiatives. It would help them to avoid the pitfalls of group-think, “yes-people,” unidentified snags, hidden agendas, and corporate myopia and hyperopia. While a company may experience these pitfalls when a high-profile, high-risk and extremely critical project is undertaken, the real reason a company needs a third opinion before starting a strategic initiative is because strategic initiatives are based on what leaders forecast – not on what they know. So in reality companies about to embark on a transformational change don’t bring in outsiders to tell them what they know, but to help them forecast.

It’s not a sign of weakness to seek outside counsel, especially when a strategic is at stake. Because of its heavy cost and disruptive nature, there is nothing more critical than organizational change, so you need to use every resource at your disposal. That includes an external, unbiased advisor who cares about your company, and who will demand honest answers to hard questions. Third parties help leaders understand, calculate and contemplate consequences. After all, assessing risk is as much of a part of business as is vision.

In a typical organizational restructuring, companies create a vision, assess risks, write a plan and muster the troops behind the battle cry. Unfortunately, many times the company’s leadership operates from a parochial, unilateral or uninformed perspective. They think they have all the right answers. But in reality, they only know what they know, and they don’t know what they don’t know. To help leaders see the bigger picture, beyond their own limited reality and insight, a third-party opinion is essential to successful organizational reform.

What do you think? Post your comments.

Ready for the Economic Recovery?

May 3, 2010

Because signs are pointing to an economic turnaround, companies are assessing if they have the strategy and organizational structure to take advantage of the situation. While the business news networks are all shouting an economic recovery is finally underway, but I’m finding executives haven’t totally bought into the turn-around theory yet. During the past several […]

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Why are you waiting?

March 21, 2010

Why are you waiting? During the past several months I have delivered several sales presentations to organizations about the services Knowledge Capital Advisors can offer them. While they all agree our process improvement services would help them increase their productivity and profitability, they all stop short of signing on the dotted line. The poor economy […]

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Tag; you’re it

February 2, 2010

I’m going to take a detour from talking about organizational transformation in this post, and instead talk about a process my company is going through. My business partner and I where brainstorming the other day about tag lines for our business that would be compelling, catchy and give people a sense of what we do. […]

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By the Book

January 1, 2010

I’ve been reading two books during the past couple of weeks, “Awaken the Giant Within” by Tony Robbins and “What the Dog Saw” by Malcolm Gladwell. Whenever I read a book, I read it with an eye towards lessons or insight I can use in organizational change. Robbins’ book is full of insight; Gladwell’s has […]

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We see, but do we understand?

December 9, 2009

In my last couple of postings I talked about assessments and profiles, and specifically about the Hartman Value Profile. Profiles and assessments give valuable insight into a person’s being. However, when it’s time for action, and an organization needs to transform, having insight into people is useful, but it’s not enough. It’s not enough because […]

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More on the Hartman Value Profile

December 5, 2009

Since being introduced to the Hartman Value Profile, I’ve been doing extensive research on profiles and assessments. There are an incredible number of assessments out there – far too many to mention. In general, there appears to be six major categories into which 90% of all the profiles and assessments fall. These are: Skill-Set Competency […]

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Work Ain’t What It Used to Be

October 15, 2009

In my last post I introduced the Hartman Value Profile. In this post I want to talk about what it means to you, and why you need to use it. Throughout history, new eras have continually emerged as a natural, sequential progression from the current “age”. At the risk of over simplification: Hunter/Gathers gave way […]

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Look what I found – the Hartman Value Profile

October 5, 2009

I am always looking for methodologies and tools that will help me make organizational transformations smoother and more effective. About four months ago I was introduced to an incredible tool called the Hartman Value Profile (HVP). I’m impressed with the Hartman Value Profile for several reasons: 1) it’s an easy assessment for a person to […]

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