Best Practices are essential to be competitive. It doesn’t matter if they are “home grown” or come from elsewhere. You need a continual stream of them coming into your hospice as you evolve it. Entities that don’t want to change and adopt Best Practices get smashed in the long haul. Hospices that are always looking for Best Practices are thriving…always.
Now the term “Best Practice” is misleading as almost everything human can and will be improved over time. A more accurate description is Best Known Practice. This recognizes that the search for ideal methods and conventions is ongoing.
Best Known Practices are closely linked to quantification and measurement. Measurement helps a hospice see what is working or equally important, what is NOT working. Many leaders think that they must have tons of money in the bank to be a World Class Hospice. But that is not what becoming World Class is about at all. It’s not so much about having large financial resources (However, a World Class hospice would have World Class financials as well, right?), but rather how well you can identify Best Known Practices and transfer them across the organization. Best Known Practices don’t have to cost a lot. In fact, they usually cost nothing except a redirection of time and energy…and the investment in Best Practices will repay huge multiples when the practice is standardized.
Where do you get Best Known Practices? Anywhere you can!
Let’s separate the acquisition of Best Known Practices into internal and external classifications.
External Best Known Practices
These come from outside of your organization. One of the mindsets that must be overcome is the “resistance” to imitate or copy. People that aren’t smart enough to copy and imitate are probably limited and insecure…and you need the best ideas regardless of where they come! Here is my advice:
Don’t keep people around that are resistant to imitate.
If we have too much pride to copy others, then we will have a problem staying competitive. This shows insecurity as a top leader is always open to learn from others.
Here are some ways to acquire external Best Known Practices.
- Carefully examine Benchmarking (look at the 90th percentile, see what is possible).
- Find top performing hospices to see what they are doing (go to superior hospices, both bigger and smaller). There are many smaller programs that run circles around large ones regarding practices.
- Really look at the direction of MVI (Best Practices IS what we do! We can throw so many at you, your head will swim!)
- Hire talent from other hospices.
- Hire talent from other industries.
- Hire people that are good at copying and the art of imitation! Ask China how it is working.
- Attend conferences, seminars and training programs. HOWEVER, be aware that you also have to protect your culture and RESIST the inclination to follow the herd in many cases, especially with industry/movement specific events!
- Read books and publications, especially those outside of our movement.
- Use good consultants or specialists.
Internal Best Known Practices
Internal Best Known Practices are harder to come by…but they happen every day if we are willing to look for them. I find that most hospices are oblivious to their own Best Practices. Often, they are not conscious of “what” they do well. Thus, many Best Practices are lost over time. Internal Best Known Practices can come from:
○ Creative individuals within the organization
○ Accident or evolution (a problem needs solving and a great solution is created)
- Test/Control Groups – Some hospices always have one team doing something different
- Brainstorming for the “Big Idea”
The search for and incorporation of Best Known Practices is continual. If this stops, the organization will find itself passed by in a short period of time and it will eventually die. So keep searching for the “best!”