A Winning Practice ‘Playbook’

Here is a familiar scenario: you want to stop for coffee on your way to work so you drive towards the coffee shop glancing at the time and measuring it against the length of cars in the drive-thru line-up.  Do you have enough time to stop for a coffee and make it to work on time?  Some coffee shops breeze through the line-up of customers like a well-functioning assembly line; they always get your order right and it always has the same great signature taste.  Other locations take forever, make you late for work, give you tea when you asked for coffee, and hand you a burnt bagel that is not even worth eating.
What sets apart the good from the great?
Achieving high standard performance on a consistent basis requires leaders to both identify best operating methods and to ensure their successful implementation.  Team members are key players in the implementation process and in order to coordinate teams, leaders must be able to communicate effectively with them.

Written communication is the most important and most effective of any mode of business communication.  It is also the most common—and for good reason, it works.  Many businesses look to a ‘Practice Playbook’ or ‘Practice Operations Manual’—a set of written guidelines that have been tested and proven to enhance performance, prevent errors and reduce training costs while empowering your team.  Systemize your business so that it be can replicated 5,000 times and runs as smoothly as it did on the first.  85% of the quality and productivity problems are a result of the ‘process’ so evaluate the success of your current processes. 

Some of the questions your Playbook will answer are:
  • What do you want to accomplish with this system?
  • Who will be responsible?
  • Where will the activity take place?
  • When will the activity be performed?
  • How will the activity or system be accomplished?

An effective Playbook is more than merely a list of processes and procedures; it molds and shapes the corporate culture and embodies the organization’s values, beliefs, behaviours, and practices.  Team members trained within these guidelines will reflect that culture and its values. In doing so, the improvement process becomes part of everyday operations.

The Playbook also serves as protection against the loss of valuable expertise on which the businesses success depends. Losing a team member is equivalent to three months of lost production mostly due to the loss of ‘essential information’. Having essential information written down ensures that it stays with your business, even if some team members do not.

The Playbook development and proper implementation is essential for businesses that wish to reach the highest standard of operational effectiveness and efficiency. It serves as an assessment tool, one that consistently measures team performance ensuring that business targets are met and results are sustained.

Every team that makes it to the Super Bowl has a ‘playbook’ so take at look at yours and prepare and plan to be the best that you can be.