Capturing Best Practices Through Playbooks


John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, once said “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” That principle applies to capturing best practices as you grow your business.  I recently worked with a technology company in creating a comprehensive sales playbook for their team. To their credit, leadership within the organization realized that unless they documented everything, from developing definitions of their prospects to job descriptions to outlining their entire sales process from start to finish, they would have a much more difficult time scaling the business. 

 Most entrepreneurial businesses, and for that matter most businesses in general, do not have the foresight to document best practices into their management routine. Think about professional sports organizations. They spend untold millions of dollars creating playbooks for every player, from first season rookies to veterans. The playbook may vary by position, but ultimately the team gives each player a version of the same playbook. Why? Because they want everyone to be on the same page. 

 Some examples of where organizations would benefit from a playbook include hiring, onboarding, working with strategic partners, reviews, and sales process. This is by no means a comprehensive list, as there are many other areas that an organization can benefit from. Think about a situation where an employee is let go. Doesn’t it make sense for the new HR person who must handle the situation to be following a set of best practices put in place by the veteran HR person that has been
there for ten years?

 David Mattson, CEO of Sandler Training, said in his breakthrough new book “The Road to Excellence – 6 Leadership Strategies to Build a Bulletproof Business” that “If you aren’t capturing the way you want things done – by, for instance, documenting exactly what top performers do and building their best practices into your daily management routine
and your performance review process – you are setting your organization up for failure.”

 Word to the wise: having the ability to improvise as a business leader is a virtue, however, it’s often not the best strategy when it comes to documenting best practices. Take the time to create playbooks for the key areas of your business.  It will pay off significantly as you grow.

Doug Cohen is the President of Summit Training
To reach Doug with questions, email him at, or call 754-701-4096.