We have all heard the phrase “Playing by the Book.” But what does it mean?
Every institution has rules and regulations. Be it sports, business, or even your home – rules are essential. The reason? To avoid chaos.
This is specifically important for businesses. A clear strategy, well-defined rules, and standardized instructions are the ingredients for a successful company, and the business playbook helps document and demonstrate it all. Let’s dive deeper into what a business playbook is, why your company should have it, and how to create one.
What is a Business Playbook?
Every piece of equipment you purchase comes with an instruction manual that tells you all about it. How to set it up, use it, its dos and don’ts – everything you need to know about the equipment is in the manual. That’s exactly what a business playbook does for your company. It is a document that contains information about all the pieces and parts of your business.
“A playbook includes process workflows, standard operating procedures, and cultural values that shape a consistent response—the play. A playbook reflects a plan; an approach or strategy defining predetermined responses worked out ahead of time.” - Accenture
The business playbook describes your company’s workflow, policies, regulations, and procedures. It outlines how your company works by defining each strategy, role, responsibility, and process.
A well-crafted business playbook can help you with various business processes, including onboarding and offboarding, completing routine operations, training employees, launching and selling new products, and more.
Components of a Business Playbook
Four core components are typically present in a business playbook, including:
- Company Profile
A professional introduction to your business, including its objectives, mission, values, and products.
The definition of roles and responsibilities that make your company work. It includes not only your team members but also the target audience (the focus of sales teams is 2.8 times more likely to increase if they know their target audience).
Give clear, concise, and comprehensive guidelines explaining all the policies and regulations of your company on a need-to-know basis.
A business playbook should include standardized instructions explaining the ‘how-tos’ of your organization.
“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” – W. Edwards Deming
How to Create a Business Playbook?
Here is how to create a business playbook in six easy steps:
- Create a Template
First, you need to make sure that your business playbook has a consistent and organized format. The best way to ensure that is to use a template. A template will guarantee uniformity and make the process simpler and quicker. Moreover, it will be easier to make updates in the future.
- Organize the Content
The information included in your business playbook should be organized and well-structured. Avoid overwhelming your members with too much information stuffed into the playbook. Organize the content into a clear layout so that the employees can find what they need quickly and efficiently.
Here are a few sections you can include in your playbook to organize the content:
- Company vision
- Company goals
- Organizational/leadership structure
- Workplace culture and values
- Business plans
- Workflows and processes
- Performance indicators
- Operational guidelines
- Systems, tools, techniques, and resources
- Success measures
- Gather Relevant Information
Once you have set the structure and organization of your business playbook, collect the information you want to include in it. To do this, review the existing workflows, processes, and operations. After gathering the information, compile it all in one place, and check if any information needs updating or completion. Make sure to get feedback from organization leaders to ensure accuracy and reliability.
- Establish the Right Tone
You have the template, the information, and the structure for your business playbook. Now, it’s time to bring it all together. Set a tone for your playbook that goes with your business model. It should be balanced, clear, concise, and deliver what you expect from your team members. In addition, it should also be respectful yet commanding. However, always remember that these are just guidelines and not laws. Leave a little room for creativity and personal judgment.
- Use the Playbook
Around 60% of the employees fail to read the company’s handbook. If that happens with your business playbook, it is of no use. So, make sure to share it with all relevant employees and instruct them to use it the way you intend. Keep reminding them that the playbook reflects the essence of your business and must be followed at all times.
- Monitor, Measure, and Modify
Businesses are ever-evolving with the addition of new roles, more responsibilities, and changing workflows. So, keep your playbook updated with all your changing business processes.
Features of an Effective Business Playbook
For a business playbook to be effective, it should have:
- Clear Intent
Always include the objectives behind your business playbook. They must be clearly stated and explained in depth.
- Be Understandable
The playbook is useless if your team members can’t understand it. Make sure to use an organized structure, clear statements, and easy-to-understand language.
- Clear Instructions and Common Business Processes
Offer clear and practical guidelines, empowering your employees to handle everyday situations relevant to your business model.
- Engaging Content
Do you know that only 20% of the employees are engaged in their workplace?
Less engagement can adversely affect productivity. So, make sure that your business playbook is engaging. It should be able to explain your purpose and inspire your employees to do better.
- Vitality and Flexibility
Keep your business playbook flexible by reflecting on its real-world use. It should be updated regularly as your business grows.
Creating a business playbook the right way can be a great stimulant to boost your company’s relationship with its team members. It gives them the support and guidance they need to flourish and make the business grow. After all, as Andrew Luck says: “It’s fun to learn a new Playbook.”