What Are Practices?

puzzle1

High performance depends on
BUNDLES of organizational practices,
not any individual one.

Practices are series of programs for leaders to apply daily that build and sustain relationships across their company.  Think of practices like a toolkit.  A builder knows when to go into the toolbox to reach for a hammer when he needs to secure the foundation of a house the same way that leaders reach into their toolkit to utilize a practice when they need to train, coach or develop their team.

Organizations put practices in place to support its mission, its vision and its values.  Practices are something leaders perform and train daily.  They are repeated daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.  When you perform something often, it’s a practice.  

In organizations, practices are a series of programs for leaders to apply daily that build and sustain relationships across the company.  Each organizational practice is designed to reinforce the other, so that the total is greater than the parts.  Can you have practices without principles? No. The practices support the principles, which build the relationships to solve the problems.  

Let’s look at simple FAQs for the criteria for a practice. Asking some key questions can guide leadership in creating practices consistent with each other.  Does it promote shared goals, shared knowledge and mutual respect?  Does it open communication? (Between peers, across departments/locations, between management/staff)  Does it foster a sense of community?  Does it support your mission statement?

Some common practices and management philosophies used across successful organizations around the globe include: hiring for relational coordination; behavioral interviewing; boundary spanning; building communities; communication; conflict resolution; discovery questions; recognition programs; mentorship programs; progressive discipline (bad apple process); huddles to raise the sights of the team; sales roundtables; team building games; touch base sessions; continuous quality improvement workshops; and so forth…

Think of some practices, or management tools, that are currently in place within your organization.  Identify areas in your business where you see room for improvement. Using this criteria, review the practices and processes around these business areas to identify the bottleneck preventing the company members from working together to achieve a more desirable result.

Repeat this exercise for areas in your organization where your business is exceeding expectations in the results.  What practices contribute to the success?  How can you implement what’s working in other areas of the company to better serve the customer?

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