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Posted by ESC on December 17, 2003

In Reply to: Best practice posted by ESC on December 17, 2003

: : : : : hi, it's me, the san francisco chronicle book critic again. i'm ginning up a little something on political/management rhetoric, and i'd love to see possible derivations of either "best practices," employed to mean "the most efficient techniques used by the competition," or "moving forward," employed to mean, well, as little as possible, as in "we're coming together in proactive way to start moving forward on..."

: : : : Oh man do I hate that corporate crapola jingoism stuff like "in a proactive way" and "moving forward" and the best/worst one: "on a go forward basis".
: : : : Back into my hole I go.

: : :
: : : Couldn't agree more Bruce.
: : : But as a contractor in the corporate world, it's something to which I'm constantly exposed. Personally I don't speak the language, but I have to be able to interprete if my invoices are to be paid each week. Particularly this 'best practice' stuff, cos one of my hats is as a QA auditor (and yes 'QA' gets bandied about too).

: : : I must say I hadn't considered the term 'best practice' in the competitive context you're suggesting, however, I like it and I'm going to nick it.

: : : So here are my offerings...

: : : A definition I like is from ODLIS...
: : : Best Practice: In the application of theory to real-life situations, any procedure which, when properly applied, consistently yields superior results, and is therefore used as a reference point in evaluating the effectiveness of alternative methods of accomplishing the same task.

: : : On the competitive note I offer this (it aint much, but it's the best I can do as I walk out the door)...

: : : "Improve your company's performance by researching and analyzing the winning practices (best practices) of other relevant organisations, and implementing, utilising and improving those practices in order to gain competitive advantage."

: : : As for 'moving forward'. Well you're right, it's a stupid, meaningless phrase. But here's an even more meaningless phrase with regard to that...

: : : "Implement and maintain an informed, focused and well-connected approach on your journey toward delivering superior market performance."

: : : Oh dear, sometimes I can write such drivel!!! But it's right up there with 'best practice' and 'moving forward'... he he.

: : Ms. Berg blinks dully and wonders whether that definition of "best practice" adds anything to what she had inferred from the plain meaning of the words.

: : We ought to get Bob over here to help out.

: All of my law dictionaries are at work. But "best practices" does have a "real" meaning. It means the standards of a particular discipline. I first heard it used by an auditor.

While we are waiting for Bob, here's one overused term:

PROACTIVE - adj. 1971. "Of a person, policy, etc.: that creates or controls a situation by taking the initiative or by anticipating events (as opposed to responding to them). Also used latterly to mean 'innovative, tending to make things happen.' Mainly management or business jargon. Coined from pro- and reactive, perhaps with a subliminal memory of the early psychology term proactive, denoting a mental process that affects a subsequent process." From 20th Century Words: The Story of New Words in English Over the Last 100 Years by John Ayto (Oxford University Press, New York, 1999).