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Best practice vs best principles

In high performance sport there is a lot of copy and paste. Best practice can be a distraction and more clutter.


In my experience the focus to adhere to ‘best practice’ misdirects the team away from the principles underneath the practice. Best practice is for yesterday and best principles are for today and tomorrow.


When I worked in innovation the ‘best practice’ for most sports was to focus on ‘new’ and ‘marginal gains’.


A distraction when your context is different, when the weak links need to be addressed first, when the performance system is cluttered and needs simplified. I was in one sport many years ago to help them implement wind tunnel testing which was according to the leader ‘mission critical’. But when we looked into their performance system the athletes were injured, some unfit, and the coaches did not have plans for the next event. But they were all focused on getting into the wind tunnel because other countries were already there. Distraction.


The principle underneath a wind tunnel is evidenced based decision making.


We reviewed their current evidence capture and use process and the sport realised there were opportunities to simplify. They never entered the wind-tunnel, they applied the principle to their system and decluttered. And won.


When you see best practice ask the question…what is the principle underneath?


This may point to the simpler performance opportunity.


Reduce and reuse!


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