The End of Best Practices

Every business is unique in its history, circumstance, people and culture. And at its heart strategy is about finding ways to create and capture value by being different. Best practices posit the opposite, abstracting away all the particulars to identify universals. But in dynamic and fast-moving business environments the map is not the territory, and best practices often become dull and dangerous instruments of improvement, creating a false sense of progress and security.

Business is an open-ended infinite game, and best practices only transfer really well in rule-based, finite games. By all means, go out and get inspired by other companies’ best practices. Then go create and evolve your own. Knowing yourself is a virtue as important and valuable for businesses as it is for individuals.