Best Practices? Tips! & Guidelines…

“Best Practices“?

Who could resist sharing “best practices”? To an egotist or a narcissist “best practices” make perfect sense. “Let me tell you how great I am, and how I do it!”

To the manipulative administrator “best practices” are nearly perfect! After all, if one can get employees to give best practices, then must they not receive them as well? Receive them indeed, and once received who now is able to say that the “best practices” can be denied?

Hey, maybe we can evaluate YOU on whether or not you are using the “best practices”!


“Says Who”, Donny McCaslin

I like tips. A “tip” is more humble. You can take or leave a “tip”. We have all received good ones and bad ones. No one could be blamed for not trying a tip, or not using it more than once if they did not like it.

But  “best practices”?  Who is to say they truly are best? And best for whom? How can they be best for those in completely different fields? How can they be best for those with completely different situations and resources?

Humans who are sensitive, creative, perceptive, reflective, knowledgeable, pioneering or expert often create new paths, new ways and (gasp), even new knowledge…

These original thinkers often publish their best ideas and new ways of doing things through journals, websites, magazines and the like. Many of these ideas are then subject to the scrutiny and feedback of peers, experts, editors and publishers. Original thinkers publish; they perform; they present.

These original thinkers generate many of their own ideas. They may even sign them. Often times, they might copyright them. They can even OWN them.

Who owns a “best practice”? Who wrote it? Who reviewed it now that it has been gleaned from another?


“Compared to what?”, Ray Charles & Leela James

Someone needs to take credit for eliciting “best practices”, listing them, assigning them, holding people accountable.  Sounds like “best practices” could be a great way for non-creative people to leach and glean ideas from others and take credit for them.

Could adherence to”best practices” lead to conformity, group-think, and getting everyone to do it the same way? How can you ignore a “best practice”? Is your new idea a “best practice”? Does everyone have to use it now? Does your conscience coincide with the established “best practices”?

One cannot imagine asking these questions about a tip, or even a guideline.   A tip is informal, and efficient. It can easily be exchanged.  Guidelines, by contrast, seem almost polite and encouraging compared to “best practices”. Guidelines are more akin to an invitation for creative development and customization. “Start here, cover this, but you can go your own way”, the guideline seems to confide.

A “best practice” is starting to seem like a pushy tip!

“Best practices” seems to stifle thinking. Why think? THIS IS the BEST way. TRUST US. Just follow these. DON’T get used to THINKing FOR YOURSELF. Just do it.

Without stretching too far, one can imagine a kind-hearted young teacher, creatively assessing and addressing the needs of her beloved students.  Later, we find her  sobbing in a meeting with the nurse-Ratched-type lead-teacher of the ten teachers in her grade level, insisting the young teacher do it the “Ratched” way!

Can a best practice be targeted? Perhaps a thought for another day, but then again, maybe thinking for yourself is no longer a “best practice”.


Whatever happened to suggestions?

c. 2022 David William Brubeck

All Rights Reserved.

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