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  This got me thinking, is the concept of “best practice” outdated?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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26 Nov, 2008 | by

Do you talk to your reader in your business letters?  Are you using language that is too formal or stuffy?  Worse yet, are you writing in a style that is too informal?

Formal Language
I talk to so many people that are confused about what is business appropriate in their written correspondence.  Many are convinced that the company expects them to use the old formal language.

Let’s look at an example:
Pursuant to your inquiry of March 17, 2008, I am enclosing some literature regarding our XYZ products.  Our organization is dedicated to providing the utmost quality and cost effectiveness.  We are confident our products will meet and exceed your standards of excellence.

This is too formal and most likely will bore your reader.  You should ask yourself if this is how you would speak to the customer in a face-to-face conversation. continue reading »