I’ve been talking a lot with clients lately about knowledge sharing and collaboration. This is a broad umbrella that includes content management, collaboration environments, reconfigured physical spaces, reconfigured cloud spaces, expert designations, profiles, and other tools to help build knowledge communities and great content. I love the work and the conversations of which I get to be a part as a result – it feels like it is having an immediate impact on the culture, the results, and the successes of some very large companies, which is fun for me.
A consistent debate that comes up in every instance is around “best practice”. The debate rages around what defines a best practice, how do we acknowledge it, who vets and approves it, etc. I recently pointed out to a client that part of the problem is that “best” is binary. There can only be one. And in most of life, there are many ways that something can be great and work well. What’s worse is that things change fast – best today may be terrible tomorrow. So who maintains what is identified as ‘best’?
In some organizations we’ve switched to using “successful practices” – an inventory of things that have proven to work in certain situations as certain times. In others, we’ve moved to a star rating, where it makes total sense for more than one type of practice or collateral or content to have the highest star rating. We still have to debate the process for assigning and maintaining the ratings, but it seems to create a much more productive and useful conversation.
In my mind, best is too definitive for most complex environments, and it makes little sense in my mind to spend time debating how ‘best’ will be assigned and maintained. Moving away from a binary descriptor can help shape the discussion and create positive change. Give it a try!