Yesterday’s Methods Keep You Stuck in Yesterday

The major airlines and many other types of companies have a problem in common—both want to be more competitive, yet, perpetuate the very business practices that keep them stuck in coach class. Southwest Airlines, on the other hand, is the perfect case study of the positive impact of new and improved best practices that have won the hearts and minds of many travelers. No change fees, rapid turnover of flights, reasonable priced business class tickets, and entertaining service from professional flight attendants have led to Southwest’s rapid ascent as a dominate carrier in the marketplace. It’s no coincidence that companies across the globe who have also evolved their best practices are reaping higher profits than those who perpetuate Depleted Practices.

Depleted Practices are tactics of doing business that many people still engage in on a day-to-day basis. While some of these methods may have been effective at one time or another, their impact now pales in comparison to the competitive advantage true best practices bring to those using them on a consistent basis. What’s worse, Depleted Practices sustain the impression that you’re no different than your competition.

Use these steps to find Depleted Practices:

  1. Find the processes whose effectiveness has diminished over time. These are the prime culprits for the Depleted Practice designation and need to be immediately changed, improved, or replaced with a better process.
  2. Carefully look for methods and techniques that some people have abandoned, having created “workarounds” instead. Employees, especially those who are the most competent, don’t just randomly create a temporary fix unless something doesn’t work.
  3. Ask your customers which aspects of what you do for them they could not live without. Those are often your true best practices; the rest, well, not so much.

Instead of doing business as usual because that’s how it’s always been done, the methods that have minimal effectiveness or no longer work must be changed. As you do, you’ll join the top echelon of innovators like Southwest Airlines. Your customers will be much better served and your profits will soar into the friendly skies as a result.

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