Playbook for Success…Or Maybe A Better Piece of Mind

Watching a lot of football lately gave me an idea that I wanted to try @ work.  Ever notice the playbooks the coaches hold on the sideline which consists of their key schemes for offense, defense, special teams, 2-minute drill, etc?  As I looked into this, every single coach I’ve ever watched has some type of playbook that they keep close to their side during the game.  I wondered how this could translate from the sports arena to the business arena.

When I’m at work, I occasionally need different types of reminders about my priorities, my team’s priorities, and my companies’ priorities so I thought why not develop a playbook that I can carry around with me at work.    I thought of the key elements of my day and how this playbook could be useful to me.  I broke out some paper and a pencil and started to draft my idea.

Here are the elements that I’ve included in version 1 of the playbook.

  • Daily –> I’m a GTD’er so I added a few reminders and the GTD workflow.
  • Weekly –> Place to hold the core agenda items to cover in my Section mtg and 1 on 1s along with other tasks that need to be performed 1x per week.
  • Monthly –> Included tasks that needed to be performed at a specific point during the month.
  • Projects –> A list of my active projects and the methodology employed within our division for software development.
  • Operations –> Key checks for our products and services we maintain.
  • Contacts –> a list of the team including variable workforce and managers I engage with frequently.
  • Team Member Development –> Area focuses on helpful coaching reminders and methods for applying effective feedback.
  • Company Hoshin (Strategies) –> Our companies’ Hoshin objectives and a list of the items in which I have responsibility for to ensure targets are being achieved.

Version 1 was constructed and in pilot since late October 2009.  Below is the front-side of the playbook which is on 8.5 x 11 paper and laminated so it remains durable being carried from meeting to meeting and placed in and out of my backpack daily.

Jason’s Playbook v1

Where I work, at Toyota, a key principle of our Toyota Way is reflection or also known as hansei.  As I look back on the last 5-6 weeks of 2009 using the Playbook, here are some of the highlighted pros and cons from my pilot.


  1. Very useful for establishing an agenda during my 1 on 1 with my Manager.  With a listing of my active projects, I could easily judge which projects I wanted to raise up for discussion.
  2. The Daily and Weekly portions of the playbook provided constant reminders about what I’m trying to achieve during the work day.  For example, every morning while booting up my laptop I would review the contents contained in the Daily and Weekly sections.
  3. The Contacts section (back-page content in the playbook) was handy in several occasions as it contains my team member’s desk and cell numbers, along with contact information for our variable workforce and business managers (our customers).  Eventually I need to get all of these contacts in my cell address book, but this seemed faster to perform the lookup to retrieve the number.


  1. Some of the content is dynamic (eg. active projects) and the playbook needs to be updated and re-laminated.  I only had to do this once during the pilot and I’ll need to refresh it again prior to picking work back up on January 4th, 2010.
  2. Occasionally I would forget to carry the playbook with me as I went to meetings.  This happened when I would place the playbook inside one of my folders that I carry in my backpack.

I will continue to utilize as I start 2010 and I will closely monitor for opportunities to kaizen as certain schemes in my work may alter from time to time and I want to make sure this remains useful and not just another piece of paper to carry around.  A peer @ work even suggested a QB version wristband with the flip-up playbook, sounds interesting!

Do you see potential value in creating your own playbook?

I’m interested in your opinions.  If interested, drop a comment or send me an email.  I would also be happy to share the template and the playbook I’ve created to give you a jumpstart.

– Jason


1 Comment

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One response to “Playbook for Success…Or Maybe A Better Piece of Mind

  1. I read this blog and found it to be very insightful, as usual. I have found One Note has changed my life. I did not view my notes as a playbook, but after reading you blog I can certainly make some connections.

    I like you have found that it certainly helps to maintain focus and direction in several of the areas you outlined in your discussion.

    A couple of questions for your consideration:

    As a coach is this something that you see requiring of your team?

    Are you aware of any other technologies out there that may assist you with the dynamic flow of your playbook outside of OneNote?

    Keep up the writing my friend. As always I enjoying your thoughts and advice.

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