Blog Post

On best practice and thinking for yourself!

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 18 October 2009



On best practice and thinking for yourself!
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 112
Posted DateSunday 18 October 2009 11:49 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://www.changingorganisations.com/2009/10/why-best-practi ... 
http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/hbr/cramm/2009/09/how-are-y ... 
http://www.cognitive-edge.com/articledetails.php?articleid=3 ... 
http://www.cognitive-edge.com/ceresources/articles/39_Managi ... 
CategoriesBest Practice

Dave Snowden frequently criticises the concept of best practice such as here in this article and in an article in Harvard Business Blog, Susan Cramm questions it too.

Steve Billing in his blog recently added weight to what David has to say. He comments that best practice" ignores the most important factor – the people who are working with the practice or model". He adds that "best practice and its forebear benchmarking both divert attention from the people and the context, focusing entirely on the disembodied prescription or model, as though it can be implemented anywhere and get the same successful result".

I am often asked for best practices in KM though what I discern is that what people really want is a prescription - a recipe they can blindly follow. But as I am so fond of saying "there is no substitute for thinking for yourself!" - in the complex real world of KM - there are no best practices; there are no simple recipes!

Steve says this "Instead of looking at best practice, focus your attention on the particularities of your situation, trying to understand all the factors at work, not just those prescribed in your model or best practice. Reflect on how your own participation is affecting, and is affected by, the way these factors are playing out in your organisation. That way you can help to make sure your attention is on what really matters so much more than a best practice or model – how you are others are interacting with each other and influencing each other in the process of getting the work done."

In other words "think for yourself!"

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
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