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The most important best practices are the most difficult to imitate

“One of the biggest paradoxes in importing ‘best practices’ is that those most easily imitated are least likely to provide a competitive advantage, and vice versa.” This quote, from Deep Smarts: How to Cultivate and Transfer Enduring Business Wisdom, by Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap, makes sense.

Minor management changes, such as simplifying titles or decreeing practice groups (without empowering them) can be copied but make little difference. The most enduring practices attach themselves firmly to the culture, values, and long-term efforts of a department. They do not travel well. See my post of April 2, 2005 regarding survivor bias and best practices

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