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Oct 4th, 2022 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

Best Practices Are (Usually) Temporal

Here is a heretical thought: When so much of our understanding of the world is based on “best practices” — or, to be more precise: what people do and think is best practice — does that mean that all our insight is simply “off the moment”?

This question was brought forward to me by Bill Pasmore, Professor at Columbia University when I shared the draft for my upcoming book Disrupt Disruption with him.

It is a good and fair point. If you would have interviewed the same practitioners we talked to for the book twenty years ago, you can bet they would have responded differently. And ask them twenty years from now, and they will respond with something different again.

Just this morning, I spoke with a friend who told me that his organization is implementing holacracy. My first reaction was, “wait, haven’t we moved on from this a good ten years ago?” Then I remembered colleagues of mine touting holacracy as “the definitive future of organizational systems” in 2015. Since then, we (and the world) have moved on. And many of us, having experienced holacracy in the wild, almost certainly have moved on.

In our email exchange, Bill kept reminding me: “We have to appreciate the discoveries that practitioners have made but also question them.”

Spot on.

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