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Does your team know your playbook?

This one comes straight from football.  From experience and from information about the competition, a coach creates a playbook that contains detailed plans for actions or plays that the entire team must know without question and execute without pause in order to win games and advance toward the playoffs.

What is different about you as a manager?  If you manage with your team knowing the intended results of each action, and if the members of the team have not honed their skills at execution of their tasks, then you are the coach without a playbook.  And if you have a plan but do not share it with your direct reports, then they are acting without motivation toward mutual goals, without metrics to measure their progress toward the goals, and without the leadership that makes great winners.

[Email readers, continue here…]  So what does your business playbook look like?  How do you create and update it?  Who gets to see it?  Again, there is a great parallel in football coaching.  The coach creates a playbook from experience and research.  He drills the team again and again in execution of the plays from memory and without pause.  He keeps metrics for each team member to see, including yards gained, passes completed, games won.  He compares these metrics to past seasons, to competitors, to his own lifetime bests.

You as a business leader are the coach for your team, no matter what the size.  Trained employees execute their tasks better than those who are not.  You are responsible for the training and for the outcomes both for individuals and the team.  You set the goals and develop the metrics by which your team is measured against those goals.  You publish the metrics, and use them to focus and align your team to perform even better.

You develop, train, measure, and reinforce successes, all based upon your coach’s playbook.  Unless of course you have no playbook and are just a fan in the stands without a clue, cheering for a team you know and love but do not effectively lead.  All because of the playbook you should have created, shared, and used as your team’s guide to success.

  • Lute, I completely agree!

    For me, as we try to “keep it simple”, the “playbook” at MSI consists of our annual corporate goals, departmental Goals, and individual associate goals. The MSI playbook cover is wrapped in our Guiding Principles. MSI’s corporate goals are reviewed weekly by the Senior Team and quarterly at employee meetings. I will reference our goals frequently during meetings and in my communiqué to the team.

    Each year, as a team, we create a new set of Corporate and Departmental Goals. One thing that does not change each year are MSI’s Guiding Principles. MSI’s guiding principles are what “lay out the rules” to how we play the game. Again, I reference our Guiding Principles frequently during MSI meetings and in communiqué to the Team. That being said, our playbook has flexibility…with our customers and industry trends influencing the plays each year. Our Guiding Principles are consistent. They help us play the game with “hopefully” the same personal and company values for all MSI associates.

    In gratitude, and in service to our customers and the hospitality industry,


  • Dave,

    this was a most insightful and helpful piece. I suggest writing a book chapter (if not a book) on this.



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