On the way back up North from visiting the fam this holiday season, I was doing my usual…trying not to text and drive, stopping every hour just to break the monotony, and listening to random tech/business podcasts. One of these podcasts by Freek Vermeulen of London Business School explained how best practices become bad practices. Besides having probably the coolest name of all the management experts, he also made one point that has been turning over in my head repeatedly – “the bad practices that persist are very difficult to catch. And indeed, they’re quite subtle.”
Put into a real world context, the things that are horrible ideas are usually spotted pretty early on and dismissed before put into practice or immediately after analysis of early results. The ones that tend to be the most damaging are the ones that are too good to be bad, but too bad to be good.
Kinda like Tony Romo.
In my consulting travels, I see it happening all the time…clients or startup management being enamored by ideas that are probably the best they have ever seen or come up with. but strike me as not being good ideas at all. Unfortunately, these are the also the hardest ones to change an otherwise intelligent person’s mind on.
It takes a ton of patience and in my experience some type of frequently reviewed quantitative measurements to give them the comfort level to adjust to the reality that the idea they thought would be a game changer isn’t really anything more than a waste of time.
If you’re struggling with this right now and are interested in some communication templates that have worked for me in the past or just need practical advise on how to deal with this rather abstract problem, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t settle for good enough. Be better.