Ton Zylstra comments on my review of Bob Hiebeler's KMPro talk last week. Ton's Interdependent Thoughts: Redefining Best Practices
[snip]It does not accommodate however for another critique, that copying what the competition does well won't make you leading in your field. It can only help you catch up. Doing it differently, finding your own way, and learning from both good practices (preferably outside your field) and worst practices has a much better chance of bringing that reward.[snip]
I wrote just about everything in my review, but this is one aspect that I missed. Hiebeler didn't talk about this idea of learning from other's experience directly, but he did talk about looking at Best Practice from the perspective of processes. For example, if you are working on customer service, what other companies do you examine for these examples? Do you just look at your competitors (typical Best Practices) or do you look at the companies that are known for being the top of the game for customer service? Then the idea that these are good examples comes to the fore. Of course, you can't exactly replicate what they do, but what can you learn from them. What do they do that you can copy? What about your common processes are similar and can be shared?
Ton is exactly right. Copying what others do will at best bring you to their level. But looking at what they do, understanding your own goals, and being open to change are critical aspects to learning and going beyond the best. (And then starting all over again.)