Three Steps to Best Practice

By Gus Mulligan

Long -term success, and probably even survival, demands peak performance in every area of the organisation. Not just good practice in your areas of strength, but best practice in every area.

This presents managers with several dilemmas:

  • Initiatives to boost short-term performance can deliver badly-needed early rewards but of themselves they rarely build to long term excellence.
  • Best practice is a constantly moving target which will in all likelihood have moved by the time you get there.
  • Major initiatives focused purely on long term gains are risky and regularly run out of steam before delivering.
  • Best practice usually requires new technology. But it takes time and if we are not careful technology can be the Godot of process improvement. Everything goes on hold while waiting for it to arrive and valuable time is lost.

Reconciling these inherent conflicts requires an approach which places equal weight on both short-term performance improvement and long term excellence

One such approach is our Three - Stage Performance Improvement Methodology.

Stage One Identify the high-value changes which can be implemented within 90 days with the current technology.
Stage Two Identify the improvements which can be implemented within 9 to 15 months using improved technology.
Stage Three Define the best - practice model for the operation and the roadmap which to ensure the organisation achieves this. This best -practice can be kept under review to ensure the organisation continually keeps its sights on what really is current best practice.

Defining performance improvement projects in this way has major benefits.

  • It delivers the early gains which are the lifeblood of successful projects.
  • It creates a vision of best practice which everyone can understand. And it positions the short - term changes as the first stage of a journey towards this.
  • And critically it allows everyone to get down to work immediately in delivering both the short and the long - term benefits of the project.


Songfield Ltd.
Copyright 2002 Songfield Ltd.