How ‘Playbooks’ can score Business Success…

Some of you may be watching the Rugby World Cup, naturally hoping your team has prepared itself for the win in Japan. “In business as in sports, it pays to be prepared” – sports teams use a set of ‘plays’ or game tactics to garner team success. Arguably, a ‘playbook’ is similar to a business plan which consists of processes, systems and strategies that lead to a particular outcome (the play). Would you go into a sales pitch unprepared? Attend a client meeting without having thought about their responses? Or deliver a team presentation without objectives? If the answer is “No”, you have most likely developed a ‘playbook’ without realising it. I’m sure you wouldn’t want your favourite team to go into a game without being prepared, so why do that in business?

At Managementors our ‘playbook’ is our approach. When we work with clients we use a number of different tools and styles of coaching to drive business improvement. We are essentially coaching our client on how to improve their strategy. Many businesses out there will have something that they regard as their unique-selling-point or ‘go-to’ approach. These ‘plays’ are what makes us sell and perform as a business.

Now, we’ve got our playbook, we’ve executed some of our carefully selected plays and we’re at half time; it’s an opportunity to review performance so far and set out what the team should focus on in the second half. Moving this into a business example, let’s use a daily team huddle – in the context that it forms part of your business strategy to review operational performance on a daily basis.

Perhaps you reviewed yesterday’s performance and it’s your best day to date…and cumulatively the best year to date – this is great, but it can be an opportunity for performance to stagnate. You need to identify how to continue improving. Regardless of whether you have the best ‘playbook’ and performance has overtaken your competitors, what really makes a team successful is evolution of the business playbook.

Aside from merely having a playbook, it needs tweaking to ensure it is evolving within our fast-paced world and has the ability to achieve the original desired outcome.

You would expect a sports team to practise their plays and review them with the coach following a game. The notion that ‘practice makes perfect’ applies to business performance. You need your operational team to practise using standard process and review performance after the event to understand how to make further tweaks or improvements. Without the review, performance can worsen and people don’t understand their role in making business improvements.

What we are really trying to highlight here is the importance of a considered business approach and toolset, which requires redefining over time. It is important to ensure that you are prepared for whatever you do and review performance afterwards to identify what could have gone better…even if you won the game!

We should all aim to play on the front foot instead of reacting to what the other team is doing.