Think back to the last time you applied for a job. It doesn’t matter if you work in-house or agency side – it’s likely that there was a line in your job spec that read “a good understanding of best practice”.
But when you turned up on your first day at work, knowing the best thing to do in every situation that might arise I doubt you were surprised to find out that the best thing to do couldn’t be done.
The website wasn’t built that way.
The client won’t sign that off.
That’ll never get past legal.
So you need to come up with the second best thing to do. That’s not part of best practice. Opinions come to a head and nothing gets done because businesses are mistaken in their opinion that doing nothing is fine if the best thing can’t be done.
But best practice is a misnomer anyway.
When we say best practice what we really mean is standard practice.
If all you ever implement is standard practice that’s all you’ll be. Standard.
If you can’t even reach standard your business deserves to fail.
Where does best practice even come from though? People treat it as if it’s some kind of bible handed down from the gatekeepers – the guys who can shut off your revenue.
Best practice is actually more like Wikipedia than a bible. It’s populated by everyone who works in the industry and most of it is factually incorrect. You should get 0 points for referencing it. The only things in there that actually do come from the channel owners are loaded with bias. Contributions from experts are self-serving and so many pat each other and themselves on the back that received wisdom becomes perceived fact.
But if neither are reliable – and if what everyone is doing is the same thing – isn’t there a chance that doing something, anything different could drive better results than best practice?
I would always overrule an expert if the data says otherwise.
If we know our customers want X and the channel owners want Y, we should spend our time getting X to work with Y and not the other way around.
Staff are fearful that deliberately setting out to do something that isn’t best practice will result in an automatic dismissal. I’m not saying it won’t.
As a result, people will wait months or years for best practice to be implemented because it’s safe. The channel owners told us to do it. The experts concurred. Businesses spend a lot of money and a lot of time being average because nobody gets sacked for being average. After all – it’s in the job description.