Best Practices Are Stupid

If you’re going to pay attention to “best practices,” then you better also understand another term: survivor bias.

Stephen Shapiro recently shared why best practices are stupid (he even wrote a book about it).

There’s a time and place for best practices. In most cases, if you’re going to use a best practice, you want to adapt it not adopt it. You want to be able to make it your own.

But let’s talk about survivor bias, which basically says: for every person who implemented a particular best practice, there are probably hundreds or thousands of other people or companies that tried the same exact practice, but failed to achieve the results.

But let’s face it, you don’t go to a conference or read a book—“Well, I tried this thing, and it didn’t work.”

They say, “I tried this, and it worked!”

Everybody wants to be an Apple or an Amazon or Netflix. But what worked for them probably would never in a million years work for you as an organization, because they are different.

So we need to be skeptical anytime somebody says, “This will work.” It will work within a particular context. But do we fully understand the context?

Listen to the full podcast episode.

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