Why Best Practices Often Fall Short

For many leaders, the allure of best practices is strong and their expectations for results are unrealistic.

Executives tend to take the value of best practices as a given. We have an abiding faith in the idea that the most direct route to improved performance is to study what successful companies do and copy them.

Best practices certainly do have their benefits. In Bordeaux, France, for instance, many wineries now follow practices recommended to them by winemaking consultants, such as micro-oxygenation, a technique that involves injecting controlled doses of oxygen into wines during fermentation. Micro-oxygenation softens tannins, which minimizes the need for long-term storage ...

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