Summary of Developing a Playbook – Should we send a copy to Congress and the White House?

| March 18, 2013 | 0 Comments

Why do we exist?writing[1]

Why you exist is your core purpose. Having worked with leadership teams on this issue, whether for-profit, not-for-profit, start-ups or mature businesses, the instances of confusion, disconnect and misalignments are numerous.

I think it is best stated by Patrick Lencioni, “As a result of having no real idealistic boundaries, they operate in a largely reactive, shortsighted way, being overly tactical and opportunistic. And they often lose their way by getting involved in a variety of random pursuits and projects that might be financially justifiable in the short term but not really fit together. This tends to dilute the focus and passion that employees look for when they coming to work.” Sound familiar? Be sure you are clear on why you exist.

How do we behave?

How your company behaves can be broken down into 4 subsets: Core Values, Aspirational Values, Permission-to-Play Values and Accidental Values. Understanding each of these sets of values provides the entire company with greater clarity on how to behave, how to make decisions, and how the company intends to grow.

What do we do?

What does your company do, really? This is the Aunt Mabel test. Can you tell Aunt Mabel what you’re company does so that she understands. This is not the time for Marketing’s well honed statements. We need to answer this question simply and without a lot of hype. Can you pass the Aunt Mabel test?

How will we succeed?

This is a difficult question, requiring a great deal of thought. Before you answer this question you must understand why you exist and how you behave. This is where you and your team determine how you are going to win the game – beat the competition and build a sustainable company.

Clearly understand all of the activities within your company, realizing they do have impact on each other. Which are compatible and which are incompatible?

Succeeding requires intentional decisions that support the best chance for a company to achieve. Intentional infers pro-active and committed. Not reactive and flavor-of-the-month leadership. This is hard work, requiring a fair amount of elbow-grease.

What is most important right now?

A Thematic Goal supports the long-range strategy of the company by determining its priorities. It aligns the organization’s resources to more effectively and efficiently address the critical obstacles that are blocking success. It is important that we realize that Thematic Goals are developed by the leadership team and, further, that the quality of a Thematic Goal is dependent upon the quality of the leadership team. Not how smart they are, but how healthy they are. Do they trust each other enough to engage in healthy conflict that ensures the quality of their goals and the commitment required to achieve success?

Who must do what?

Responsibilities must be clearly assigned. Only then can we hold each other accountable. The fly wheel in an organization is moved by people who are willing to individually commit to the larger organization. We want and need clarity of our role. It is energizing and powerful. When we understand our responsibilities, we understand our importance.

  Take care,



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Category: Accountability, Assessments, Human Capital Management, Newsletters


About the Author ()

Julia Hill-Nichols, SPHR, is the founder of LeadersCove, LLC. With over 30 years experience in operations and human capital management, Julia is gifted in the art and science of bridging strategic imperatives and a company’s human capabilities—executing for success, meeting bottom-line objectives and enlivening the people who are the organization’s lifeblood.

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