Why "Best Practices" Never Work

We can never achieve goals that envy sets for us. Looking at other businesses and wishing you had what they had is a waste of time and energy. We are all unique, what makes another process work for someone else may do the opposite for you. That's why copying is nice but often disappointing when heeded. What you need is “Your Practice” – Doing what is right for your business.

The first thing you do is don’t call it a best practice. (What?!) Best practice is impersonal, sometimes seems unachievable, and always applies to someone else. Well, this is your plant, your operation, so YOU know what needs to be done. So the first thing you do when trying to improve your operation is ask yourself, ‘Is this the right thing to do?’ If you do that, you will improve.

Next time you are looking for a so called “Best Practice” try asking yourself “What is the right thing to do” and you invariably will come up with “Our Practice” and you will get a lot more buy in from the people you want to buy in.

Until next time, make every minute count.

About James: James serves as Advoco’s Maintenance Improvement Practice Lead. His career has been dedicated to Reliable Plant Operations Performance, with experience ranging from “mega projects on a global scale” with Fluor Corporation to owning and operating a South Carolina-based plant services company. Known affectionately in the office by his childhood nickname Jimbo, he is passionate about restoring the value and pride in American Manufacturing through our Reliable Operation Initiative (ROI) and PRIDE in Maintenance implementation approach. He’s also known for dropping “idea bombs” – his way of challenging others to think differently in order to solve problems. If you have a question for James or Jimbo (he answers to both!), please send him an email at


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