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One Size Does Not Fit All: Systems and Tools

One Size Does Not Fit All: Systems and Tools

We are all looking for ways to improve performance and productivity.  There are lots of choices available to us, and lots of decisions to one size does not fit all, systems, tools, HR solutionsmake in the process. As we research solutions it’s quickly apparent that there are many approaches to building effectiveness and efficiency in organizations large and small and in every industry. Often-times, we do benchmarking against competitors, surveys, and we use Best Practices to stay current and achieve these results.

As an HR professional for over 20 years, I have been a member of a number of teams implementing standardized processes, training, and “Best Practices”, all too frequently finding to my dissatisfaction, that there were gaps or trade-offs between our needs and these solutions. There came a time when a revelation hit me like a lightning bolt: Pre-packaged training, standardized systems and procedures and Best Practices are generic, and in being generic they are incomplete. Further, being generic, they make us behave or operate like other companies, rather than building on our unique differences.

When we think about this, it makes sense. How could any one-size-fits-all solution meet the needs of lots of businesses? Each organization has its own business strategy, a workforce of its own unique composition, its own culture, and its own employee development needs. Additional differences impacting organizational needs include, for example, size, history, status as a start-up or a more mature business, in high-growth, undergoing re-structuring, recently acquired, privately owned, publicly traded, traditional, progressive — we could go on and on listing factors that combine to make each company unique, with different needs. Therefore, it is very unlikely that a generic set of tools and processes or Best Practices will fit the specific needs of many different companies.

This means it is incumbent upon us as leaders to customize our tools, systems, and processes. Customization is the key to reaping the full potential benefit of initiatives, systems or practices from Lean, to Performance Review processes and forms and everything in between, such as Development Programs, Applicant Tracking, Inventory Tracking, Succession Planning, Values, Metrics, Incentive Plans, Competencies and tools such as 9-Box Models and Bell Curves.

What’s the key to customization? Alignment with the business strategy should be at the heart of any customization effort in order to ensure high impact results and a good fit with the needs of the business and its people. Different projects may also take into account additional factors, but the business strategy should be central.

The Bottom Line?  While using Best Practices and standardized training, tools and initiatives may save money up front, the investment in customization is one that pays off with results and impact that fits your needs and your goals.


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Rosanna Nadeau is the Principal/Consultant with Prism Perspectives Group, LLC. Focusing on improving organization performance, PPG delivers results through uncommon tools and consulting approaches, as a partner with leaders from initial consultation through solution implementation and measurement. PPG provides employee and management development programs (see and H.R. Management services (see To receive the free monthly newsletter or obtain more information visit or send email to

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