12 Feb, 2009 | by

I am searching for a word, maybe it’s a phrase, but it eludes me.  I don’t say that often, I take pride in my ability to communicate complex ideas creatively and succinctly.  Yet, I can’t find that perfect word to describe a state of being many of us in Process Management live in every day.  How do you describe being the best but also continuously improving, at the same time?

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a leader in Store Operations at a growing retail company.  He had some interesting observations on some things I take for granted.  His point was simple.  In an organization with a young talent pool and longevity measured in months, not years, labeling something as “best” sets a standard to achieve, not exceed.  After all, once you’re the best, don’t you put your feet up and relax?  This got me thinking, is the concept of “best practice” outdated?  Can you implement a “continuous improvement”?

Let’s take a step back and define these terms.  Keep in mind, language is important.  In many organizations, like the one mentioned above, words are taken at face value.    What is a best practice?  It is a method that has been identified as the best approach yielding the best results.  What about continuous improvement?  Again, just like the name implies, it is an approach, or more an organizational culture, to continuously improve. 

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16 Apr, 2006 | by

I, like many students of business, have great admiration for Walmart’s tremendous success through its innovative supply chain management structure, relentless pursuit of always having the lowest prices, etc, etc.

This does not mean I admire their complete and total disregard of their own blue collar employees. i.e. Paltry medical benefits and just a shear disinterest in workers in general. I’ll just leave it at that.

Recently, Walmart has begun to cannibalize sales of their own existing stores in various locations. Essentially stores are opening up in close proximately to older stores. Now, you would think Walmart would recognize and avoid such a maneuver given past experience of other retail giants. i.e. Home Depot, Target, etc. continue reading »