Meeting Minimum Standards or Innovations leading to Best Practices

best practicesDo you ever get put on a spot, where what you are doing today was acceptable yesterday but is viewed as maybe not the best for today and certainly not being good enough for tomorrow?

Your answer is, “I’m meeting the standards required”.  And the audience says “so what, that is not good enough for what we want into the future”

The interesting debate then ensues on how the business practice of meeting the standards becomes a target to achieve what is considered acceptable, and in many cases, viewed as the minimum standards required.  And exceeding the minimum standards will cost money to which the customer is not willing to pay for the ‘extras’.  That perspective of ‘meeting the minimum requirements or standards’ is often supported by government legislation.

An additional problem arises as some people then make the jump from ‘meeting the minimum standards’ as acceptable to viewing meeting minimum standards as best practices or a worst situation being best practices are all about meeting minimum standards.

Wikipedia defines ‘best practice’ as a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark. In addition, a “best” practice can evolve to become better as improvements are discovered.

This is where innovation comes into play.  Being open to innovation and being innovative provides companies with opportunities to improve what they do up and above meeting minimum standards.  They are thereby viewed as operating to or in-line with best practices and can be measured against best practices.

Many products and services can be provided at minimum standard levels and consumers will accept those levels often with a discounted price attached.

Other products or services however will not be accepted.  This appears to be happening in the resource development industry sector with its legislative minimum standard approach.  This could be happening here where the public are voicing their concerns about environmental sustainability and challenging a company’s social licence to operate in a manner viewed to be outdated and not acceptable for tomorrow.

This may be especially applicable where meeting the minimum standards is in fact meeting outdated minimum standards that have no to little relevance to today or where meeting minimum standards has not kept pace with new and emerging technologies and/or best practices.  These new and emerging technologies and innovations in many cases form and become the best practices of the day.

So if meeting the minimum standards approach is not working in your industry, perhaps adopting best practices that (1) meet and/or exceed minimum standards and (2) reduce your costs of operations and improve your bottom-line is something to consider.  These two considerations could distinguish your company from the competition and improve your market share, competitiveness and profitability.

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