1.   A best practice is a technique for performing an activity or business process that at least one company has demonstrated works particularly well.

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2.   To qualify as a legitimate best practice, the technique must have a proven record in significantly lowering costs, improving quality or performance, shortening time requirements, enhancing safety, or delivering some other highly positive operating outcome.

CORE CONCEPT: A best practice is any practice that at least one company has proved works particularly well.

3.   Benchmarking is the backbone of the process for identifying, studying, and implementing outstanding practices.

4.   Informally, benchmarking involves being humble enough to admit that others have come up with world-class ways to perform particular activities yet wise enough to try to learn how to match and even surpass them.

5.   The goal of benchmarking is to promote the achievement of operating excellence in a variety of strategy-critical and support activities.

6.   However, benchmarking is more complicated than simply identifying which companies are the best performers of an activity and then trying to exactly copy other companies approaches.

7.   Normally, the outstanding practices of other organizations have to be adapted to fit the specific circumstances of a company’s own business and operating requirements.

8.   A best practice remains little more than an interesting success story unless company personnel buy into the task or translating what can be learned from other companies into real action and results.

9.   Legions of companies across the world now engage in benchmarking to improve their strategy execution and gain a strategic, operational, and financial advantage over rivals.

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