Every organization regardless of industry is always usually in one way or the other, interested in Learning Best Practices in their business or industry and applying it to the way they operate. Same goes for Medical professionals who want to advance in their careers. They continue to learn and acquire new knowledge about their field such as what are the best practices. They do this by reading journals, attending conferences and summits (for example the HASUMMIT 2018) and by taking short courses and even doing their own research and trying out new experimental and innovative practices and procedures. Continuous improvement is a watchword for doctors and medical professionals are without it they will go stale and won’t be able to keep up with the fast-paced and highly dynamic healthcare industry.
The Ways of Learning Best Practices
Using best practices in an organization or career means finding and using the best and up to date working ways of achieving objectives. There are different ways that best practices can be sort after and implemented.
Benchmarking is the process of comparing your business with successful businesses in your industry or location. This way you can highlight the ways that you can improve and be better. Benchmarking is an important element of practically any business or organization. When benchmarking is not practiced, it means you are flying blind and could be doing things efficiently in relation to the competition.
One common type of benchmarking is quantitative benchmarking. However, this is not the only type of benchmarking you should implement. Organizations and business should also implement qualitative benchmarking. Taking into account context, location, constraints and even thing like company culture, is fundamental to an effective benchmarking operation.
Benchmarking can also be used is a tool of innovation. Is knowing the relative standard of how competitors do things can lead you to know where and how to innovate new ways. A strategic management term for this is called Blue Ocean Strategy.
I guess you can say “standards” are the quintessential base level best practices. Standards are fixed specifications or benchmarks that are set by independent bodies in your industries or line of work. There are different types of standards that can be set. For example, technical standards are precise specifications against which a business can measure the quality of its product, service or processes. Management standards are models for achieving best business and organizational practice. You can also have operating standards, hiring standards etc.
Internal Organizational Learning
Applying best practices in organizational learning is often related to process improvement. Within an organization, there are usually initiatives within the organization or within departments that lead to process improvement. Continuous implementation of these initiatives with proven results often leads to its adaptation is the standard way of doing things and then spreads to other departments. Often times, these best practices arise from trial and error.
They are also usually tacit in nature is they were not created through a formal process. Even when department heads think to make them more explicit, they might change their mind because they consider it too small or irrelevant to make explicit, they can be met by a daunting bureaucratic process or even worse, high up management with little knowledge on what’s needed on the floor might put a cap on it because it does not meet the standards or process that they have spent a huge amount of time and money developing.
We often think of best practices as something that needs to be driven from the top, but actually, most of the really important learning comes from the middle of the organization. In this respect, the search for best practices within the organization both low-level and mid-level can be immensely valuable. By employing them intelligently, you can increase performance throughout the organization in areas in which you are weak. So while it’s true that adopting best practices from elsewhere won’t lead you to excellence, sometimes it’s extremely viable to look within the organization.
Learning Best Practices to Foster Innovation
Best practices should not be used just for staying up to date on industry standards and the competition but can and should be used to foster innovation. By knowing what your competitors are doing (through benchmarking) you can stay ahead of the curve by ensuring your products, services or both, surpass the current acceptable standards. When you maintain a culture of innovation, you will be able to react and respond quickly to market changes, evolving customers etc. With time you would get to lead the industry.
A good example is Amazon that took over the market by offering both low process and high responsiveness in the form of fast delivery. The industry standard and best practice before Amazon was offering one or the other but Amazon decided to push the boundaries and offer both, thereby revolutionizing the industry and raising the standards. Innovation doesn’t always have to be big moves, it can come in small changes like slightly improving a product or in mid-size changes like offering a new product or service.
Benefits of Learning Best Practices
Applying best practices have a plethora of benefits. A few of them are:
- The help you become more competitive and efficient
- They increase sales and develop new markets
- They help reduce costs
- They improve the skills of your workforce
- They enable you to use technology more effectively
- They reduce waste and improve quality
- They equip you to respond more quickly to innovations in your sector
Despite the many benefits of best practices and its many advantages, this does not mean that organizations should not push themselves beyond what is considered “best”. Applying best practices is great but they can only be is good is the managers and professionals who implement them.
Learning Best Practices Through Technology
Organizations can gain a competitive advantage by using technology and applying it to how they do things. For example, with the rapidly growing technological environment and new innovations springing u every day, organizations can find new technology to apply to their processes to make them more efficient. For example, a newspaper or magazine can become more efficient by using google docs for live editing of content as opposed to emailing back and forth with the editor is he/she makes changes. By applying the technology of live editing in a shared document, they save time and become more efficient.