When you’ve created your playbook… burn it.


The alignment that you’ve created around a shared vision and way-of-working is the true value. 

I’ve found that my most successful projects are the ones where a team of people comes together to create a ‘playbook’ or ‘blueprint’ for what they want to achieve.  That’s included integration playbooks, go-to-market strategies, revenue management practices, and even working capital reduction projects.  

The power of the shared vision that a playbook creates is undeniable, however it seems that  all too often the focus is on delivering the actual playbook rather than delivering its benefits.

If the primary benefit of a playbook is a documented strategy and process that anyone can implement, then you could argue that the people involved in implementation don’t need to be involved in its development.  For example, you could create the ‘integration blueprint’ in advance of deal completion, and then simply hand it over to the delivery team post-deal.  I’ve seen that tried in both service-sector businesses and manufacturing firms and the result has consistently been poor.   

In my experience, the real reason for the success of a playbook is not the creation of the document itself, it is the creation of a small team who became experts, aligned to a shared vision, with all the details they needed to put the thinking into practice.  The playbooks themselves were rarely if ever referred to by the team which created them. Saying “we need a team of experts with a shared vision and practices” isn’t as neat as “we need a playbook”.  

Perhaps we should create a new wave of ‘slow management speak’?  Taking short cuts in what we tell each other can lead us in the wrong direction.   

David BoydDavid Boyd