Think about the top Fortune 500 companies for a second. Well, maybe not all of them, but the automakers, IBM, Xerox, Kodak, those guys. They were running profitable businesses for long time. They were utilizing lean principles, six sigma, and other quality initiatives. They probably also were committed to implementing and sharing "best practices".
In this rapidly changing world, what these mammoths were unable to to was implement really new ideas. To do this would require innovation and risk taking beyond what they were capable of. Katie Konrath wrote a post on Personal Branding Blog citing CK Pralahad's opinion on the topic of innovation.
"Unfortunately, when a company gives all their focus to “best practices”, they actually set themselves up for failure in the future. Why? Because the very thing that makes them improve (intense internal focus) is what hurts them in the long run".
Pralahad calls the innovation "next practices". We have to be able to see the forest through the trees. Looking ahead and outside instead of intense internal focus. Not just as a business but as individuals also.
Continuous improvement and best practices are important. However, mixing in some innovation is also necessary.
Manage your career as if you were an innovative business. Strive to create excellent customer service, push the boundaries of what that means. Be passionate about the work you do. Manage spending and budgets like it was your own money. CareerSuccess! has a helpful post on thinking like a business which is truly worth the read. It talks about the nine elements of successful business:
Provide outstanding customer service
Take caring of your people
Go the extra mile
Look for opportunities to improve
Look to the future
We are all now responsible for managing our careers. Develop the tools required to take your business to the next level!