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Focus on Best Principles, not Best Practices

Last week I had the opportunity to listen in to Qualtrics’ webinar on The trends shaping the employee experience in 2023. This year’s trends are pretty interesting and I will get into those in future posts. During this conversation I heard a really great concept from Benjamin Granger, Qualtrics' Chief Workplace Psychologist, that is important to dig into:

Focus on best principles, not best practices.

This concept really resonated with me and it is something that I have been communicating with my clients in a less succinct way (sorry clients, I will do better!).

The construction industry has a lot of cultural synergies across the organizations: the people are authentic, hardworking, problem solvers. There is a consistent pride for the work built and the legacy left for generations to come. …I could keep going, but I’ll save that for another day.

More importantly (as it pertains to this conversation), each organization I have worked with is different. They are all unique. From incredibly process-driven (think: new initiatives are not rolled out without a full process map, impact analysis, and budget need completed and approved), to organizations where a leader can get a great idea, run it past someone (in the hall) who will take the initiative, go implement it, and make it happen. There are pros and cons to both sides of this spectrum, but here is where I am trying to go:

Just because something works at one organization, doesn’t mean it is going to work at yours.

In other words: best practices aren’t the best for every organization. Rather, focusing on the principle would serve you and your employees better.

So what does that look like?

Benjamin used a great example of flexible work during the webinar and I am going to take that principle and apply it to my work with construction organizations and their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) journeys (if you would like to see his example, click the link above and watch the webinar - good stuff):

Principle: People want to feel included and have a voice within their organization.

  1. Organization A conducts a series of focus groups to learn more about why their employees don’t feel included. Then, they validate what they heard with a follow up quantitative survey.

  2. Organization B hires a DE&I consultant to conduct internal interviews, then provide them a roadmap and action plan for change.

  3. Organization C hires an internal team to improve diversity inclusion across the company.

Practice: Company X started a women’s employee resource group, so you start a women’s employee resource group.

The actions that Organizations A, B, and C are all the right next steps for their company. Each of them are routed in the principle that their employees want to feel included and have their voices be heard (and the organization has the assumption that they could do better in this arena).

My challenge to you is this: as you learn what another company is doing, are you adopting that "best" practice? Or are you seeking to better understand the principle and determine what will work best for your organization?

Sometimes adopting another organization's "best" practice may seem easy. If you are struggling to focus on the principle and want to talk through your scenario, let's chat! Click here and find a time that works for you and we can dig into the challenges you are facing.


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