The term ‘best practices’ is used to describe the processes and activities that have been shown in practice to be the most effective. If you are engaged in student organizations or a work setting during your college career, you may eventually hear the term ‘best practices’ and be asked implement them. They may relate to organization recruitment, event planning, project management, meeting facilitation, leadership development or anything else you are trying to accomplish.
I recently heard someone say that by the time you implement best practices, it’s too late, as the environment conducive to those practices has already changed.
Essentially, someone’s situation is not your situation and doing exactly what they do may lead to poor results for you. Failure may be a good learning tool, but at least try to set yourself up for success by not following along blindly.
I think the development and implementation of best practices, while contextual, do have some common denominators or universal truths about them. The development and implementation of best practices:
• Are designed with purpose, intentionality, high expectations and a process-orientation
• Challenge thinking and processes
• Actively engage everyone by building community and creating connection
• Embrace Namaste (seeing the good in others) by honoring and celebrating diversity
• Allow people to dwell in possibility and think critically
• Create sustained opportunities for leadership and learning
• Support the development of all involved along their personal continuums
Learn and Apply
Certainly learn from those that have come before you, and from those who have had tremendous experiences. You may be able to instill best practices without much adjustment or extra effort on your part. The key is to not make the ‘perfect fit’ assumption from the start and treat best practices as a magic fix-it-all, but rather, as an advanced position from which to continue your own success. From this advanced position, combined with a thorough understanding of the best practices’ context as it relates to your current situation, you can make adjustments accordingly to help the clubs, teams, and student interest groups you are part of really move forward.”
Your ability to effectively implement situationally modified best practices will be valuable to your organizational, personal, and brand development.
What do you think? Make it a good day.
Mike Severy is the Director of Student Life at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He views his work through the lens of student leadership development believing that students are developed over time through a series of meaningful experiences and that his role is to help students create and find the meaningful experiences in their lives. You can connect with Mike on Twitter (@mikesevery).