While it might be bizarre to say "Principles over Practices" in an article that is part of the "Open Practice Library', that is exactly what this "Practice" is all about. Establishing a set of shared principles for yourself or your organization that is derived from your purpose and values and use those to guide you in the practices that you do every day. You can think of Practices as the tip of the iceberg that is above the water, these are the ceremonies we do every day in our work. However, if we look under the water we will see that the larger part of the iceberg that keeps the tip of the iceberg above the water, these are our principles and values.
Transforming organizations that start with a clearly articulated purpose and then establish a shared set of principles is more likely to succeed in their transformation than organizations that simply implement practices. Purpose, Values, and Principles are enduring but practices evolve and change over time. Blindly following practices are not encouraged, establish a set of shared principles and you can weather the storms that beat at your door. It is important to use this lens to understand the success stories and reports we hear of successful organizations, often we only hear about their practices, the visible things they do, and less about their principles and values. Copying just the practices of successful organizations will not get us the same result if we do not also adopt the values and principles that originated these practices. For example, when we talk about visualization of work we are really talking about providing transparency and improving understanding of work too. Providing transparency is not a practice. It is a principle that can be embodied by a whole lot of practices.
Examples of shared principles in organizations:
Check out these great links which can help you dive a little deeper into running the Establish Shared Principles practice with your team, customers or stakeholders.