Why you should be skeptical if a consultant pushes 'best practices'

Understanding how to implement and develop best practices is part of what makes consultants useful to organizations, but while best practices may have a small impact on efficiency, they cannot help initiate transformational innovation, Tom Puthiyamadam argues in an op-ed for strategy + business.

Best practice models can incrementally increase efficiency, but if organizations want innovation beyond that, they cannot rely on the tried and true methods collected by consultants, Mr. Puthiyamadam, a consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, writes. The quick rate of innovation makes it ineffective to solely rely on best practices, he adds.

"The pace of change makes it dangerous to rely on best practices. Technology is so quickly shaping the future that using only your own personal and professional experience to inform your counsel will make you look behind the times," Mr. Puthiyamadam writes. "Advisors and leaders have to be ready to build business models that don't necessarily have a precedent, and to imagine customer and employee experiences in ways that haven't been seen before."

Instead, Mr. Puthiyamadam argues consultants should focus their research on the specific circumstances of an organization, rather than those of the industry, to help solve individual problems instead of fully integrated organizational solutions.

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