Leading for Tomorrow: Building Your Playbook

Posted on: February 24, 2018

When the Patriots and the Eagles take the field this Sunday, we can assume they will have their plays ready. But they also will be adjusting them according to how goes the big game. In my last post, I shared why businesses need to be doing the same thing: creating a playbook to lead their teams through this ever-changing business environment. In this post, I will now walk you through how to begin building your playbook so you can increase team agility.
leading for tomorrow: building a playbook for agility
How to Build Your Playbook: 

  1. Write down something that stands out in your memory that you have seen your team do well. What was the technique or tool you applied that made it successful? Write it down. Then write as many as you can think of. The idea here is finding certain techniques and approaches that you can reuse and try over and over again.
  2. Next, write down a list of things you have seen your team (or yourself) not do well. What was the technique or tool you applied, and what made it unsuccessful?
  3. Ask your team: What are some techniques they have seen from previous teams or organizations that worked well? Note that in the first three steps above, the focus is on team engagement: what worked well, what didn’t work well, best practices, etc. You can use this technique to solve problems and change attitudes. For example, you hear someone say, “Our project status meetings are always chaotic and suck. We just get stuck on the first issue.” You respond with, “OK, guys, so has anyone seen a project status meeting run well? Tell us more about it.”
  4. Review the lists of items from above and determine the essential steps. Be precise and clear. Then to formalize it, you teach them how to come up with one play internally. Design your play and go from there.
  5. Once you have completed step #4 for five “plays”, create your list (thinks “table of contents”!) and share with your team. Resolve to “test” them over the next 2 weeks.
  6. At the end of two weeks, conduct a lessons’ learned. Review with the team how the plays worked–were they implemented correctly? Were the results positive? If not, how can the play be adjusted? Was it applied to the wrong situation? Don’t give up and abandon the technique when you meet a little resistance. Instead, stop and modify. Recall our football analogy. What would a winning coach do?

As you begin to share, discuss and apply per #5 and #6 above; within a few months, your playbook will we be established! Once you have your initial plays and rhythm, continue to identify more opportunities to build up your playbook.  Be sure to give your team time to learn the plays well before creating new ones; otherwise, you risk creating confusion and negating the purpose of the playbook.


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