Many companies adopt industry best practices to stay competitive. But high-performing companies do more: They also embrace unique “signature processes” that reflect their values.
The importance of implementing best management practices is widely understood. However, the authors argue, best practice alone is not enough. They use examples of three high-performing companies to show that those companies not only use standard best practices but also embrace internally developed idiosyncratic “signature processes” that reflect the history and values of the organization and executive team. Such “signature processes” — a daily morning meeting of senior executives at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, an easily reconfigured organizational structure at Nokia that involves modular teams and a “peer assist” program where business-unit heads help one another at BP Plc — help drive high performance because they engender passion and energy within an organization.
The mechanisms by which signature processes develop differ from those associated with best-practice ideas, however. The latter are often adapted from shared knowledge originating outside the company, whereas signature processes start with the values that internal executives champion.