To leaders across industries, organizations, and business functions, the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) is synonymous with next practices.
A next practice is a strategy strongly correlated to better market performance, but in use to a very limited extent by organizations overall. Typically, next practices are found more frequently in high-performance companies—those that consistently excel in revenue growth, market share, profitability, and customer satisfaction.
Identifying those next practices of high-performance organizations is a core differentiator of i4cp. Through our research studies in the past few years alone we’ve found, on average, more than 30 next practices every year.
Next practices may be shiny, new, and exciting…
When we look at those next practices, the variety of innovations that emerge from our research is remarkable. Sometimes the approaches are something completely new and different, applications we’ve never seen before.
But those exciting, first-of-their-kind practices are only part of the picture. Often our studies reveal that next practices are a lot like developing a better mousetrap. They involve different and innovative takes on already-accepted approaches—new ways of leveraging strategies that have existing, sometimes long-term, track records of success.
For example: Using case-based or scenario-based action learning in leadership development is not new. Three-quarters of organizations use such experiential learning to train leaders, according to i4cp’s Experiential Learning for Leaders study. Further, nearly a third of high-performance companies opt for action learning that simulates real-world circumstances.
… Or simply better mousetraps
An i4cp member company morphed that case-based action learning into a next practice by turning the usually outward-facing lens inward. Instead of creating hypothetical scenarios that mimicked challenges many businesses encounter, the organization’s learning team interviewed company executives and wrote up the real issues that had challenged their leaders to stretch and learn in critical times. They mined the company’s own history and produced uniquely valuable company-and-industry-specific learning experiences for emerging leaders. A new twist on a traditional approach—a better mousetrap.
That example also illustrates another point about next practices. Many are noted in areas that are foundational to the business—in this case, leadership development. Not the latest bright shiny thing an organization might be focused on and hopeful of excelling in.
But leadership development is important. And it’s vital to organizational performance and business success. It demonstrates what we see every day: high-performance organizations take time to get the fundamentals right. In the process, they create practices tied to better market performance—practices that drive and sustain long-term productivity and excellence.
Conversations, interviews and more
Our research initiatives aren’t the only way i4cp identifies next practices. We talk to you, the business leaders and practitioners on the front lines, the never-say-uncle innovators who don’t stop moving forward just because the best way to execute on a plan hasn’t been found yet. If you have to, you make it up as you go, often inventing next practices before the research data exists to formally confirm that designation.
We also learn about that kind of innovation through the many conversations we have with our members, thought leaders, subject matter experts, and others. We hear great stories about new practices in our Board and Exchange meetings. And we uncover exciting and distinctive approaches in the interviews we conduct with leaders worldwide to supplement the quantitative data we collect through our research studies and pulse surveys.
The i4cp Next Practice Awards
One of the best ways we have to identify and spotlight the innovative practices organizations are developing and applying is our annual i4cp Next Practice Awards competition. If you’ve attended the i4cp Next Practice Now conferences, you’ve probably seen some of the award nominees and winners making presentations about their entries.
Even if you weren’t at past conferences to see those in person, you can summon them on demand. There are also video presentations and materials archived from past conferences that enable you to learn about these innovative practices directly from those who developed them.
Submit your next practices now
The doors are still open to submit your own potential next practices— if you hurry. Entries are being accepted until November 30th, and the awards will be announced at the 2020 Next Practices Now Conference in March.
Is your organization doing great things? Don’t miss this opportunity to share your next practices with other i4cp members and get the recognition your work deserves. Download your application and entry details now.