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Where’s your team playbook? Hmm?

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.

But you know that of course.

Your team playbook

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.

What if you lead without a team playbook?

Well, 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.

Contents within your team playbook

[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 are the team coach

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.

Or are you just a “fan in the stands?”

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.

  • Colin McKillop

    Dave, a great thought for this week. I think it would help the average reader to better understand the thought process if you added a PDF file with a sample Team Playbook for people to use as a template.

    I am a long term follower since we met in Boston at the ACA Conference

    All the best

    Colin McKillop

    • Colin,
      The samples I have are in PDF form and contain confidential information. Too bad. I’d love to post a generic one. Note in the article I do state the contents of a typical playbook, including goa;, trategies, tactics. KPI’s…


  • David,
    First, great to know you are still very active and “kicking”!!
    I still do read you critiques and still love your questions – which always Challenge my management Conscience, far more than hearing direct directions.

    This most recent happens to arrive as a call to action. Very timely! Damn you!! Thank you!!

    I hope all is well, both by what you love doing and on a personal note, for family and your well being.

    Please keep me on your list. One day hopefully our paths will cross…. again.

    Respectfully and with great warmth,
    Alan Ellenbogen

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