(615) 656-0465 mark@markskenny.com

Note: this is the eighth in a series of weekly tips to build a functional, collaborative, aligned team.

Tip: Build a Strategic Team Playbook to Eliminate Confusion and Create Game-Changing Focus

One evening while attending a conference at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas a few years ago, a group of us went to dinner at an Italian restaurant within the hotel. A couple members of our party were late and I was asked to go ahead and check-in for our reservation. Twenty minutes later, I found the restaurant. Caesar’s Palace is a labyrinth of casinos, hallways, shops, restaurants, wings, and more casinos. I could not figure out where I was going.

Many times, it feels that way for our teams. There is a labyrinth of information on current priorities, corporate strategy, who needs to do what, what is most important right now, what we are really trying to accomplish as a team, why we even exist, and how we are succeeding. To make it worse, much of this information is located in different locations: the team’s own various documents, corporate or department strategic documents, various tracking systems, head knowledge, etc.

The answer: create a Strategic Playbook for your team. The playbook is one document with the essential information to keep your team focused.

From my experience leading teams and working with leaders who lead teams, here is what should eventually be in the Playbook:

  • Answers to the team’s clarity questions: Why do we exist? How do we behave? What do we do? How will we succeed (our 3 strategic anchors)?
  • If this is a mid-level team, the corporate or department strategic objectives and priorities that are applicable to our team’s work.
  • What is most important right now? (our overarching short-term thematic goal, the one goal that is most important).
  • What do we need to accomplish to achieve our overarching thematic goal.
  • The everyday objectives for which our team will always be responsible.
  • Our team’s scoreboard (charts and data to show our current level of success).
  • Who will do what (strategic and everyday operational action items)
  • Your Working Genius team map (if you use the Working Genius model to improve team productivity and tap into each other’s genius)
  • Team Norms (how we conduct meetings, conflict norms, how we will use Working Genius, etc.)

If that seems like a lot, start with these essentials:

  • What is most important right now?
  • Who will do what?
  • If this is a mid-level team, the applicable corporate or department strategic objectives and priorities.
  • Our team’s scoreboard.

The key is to use the Strategic Playbook all…the…time. Run your meetings from the playbook. Always pull out and consult the playbook. Make decisions from the playbook. Live from the playbook. This will keep everyone focused on what is truly important, eliminate unnecessary distractions, and reduce confusion. Your top performers will love it because a common complaint is that priorities constantly shift, and the team never really accomplishes anything significant because of a lack of clarity and focus.

Go build a functional, collaborative, aligned team!