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The Stay on Course Playbook, Accelerating the Future of Leadership Series (Part 3): “Embracing the Balance between Managing and Leading”

Julie Riga
CEO of Stay on Course
Executive Business & Leadership Coach, and MBA
New Jersey

Welcome to the third installment of “The Stay on Course Playbook” series. If you’ve been following along, you’ve already embarked on a transformative journey, exploring key aspects of leadership excellence in the ever-evolving landscape of the workplace.If you’re just joining the series will help you embrace the balance between managing and leading.

Charting Purposeful Direction

In part 1 “Charting Purposeful Direction,” we delved into the significance of aligning personal and organizational purpose, discovering why personal purpose and company purpose matter. As Tony Robbins aptly puts it, “When your personal purpose aligns with your work, you become unstoppable.” We explored the impact of purpose on health, well-being, and overall job satisfaction, learning that when individuals operate from a place of purpose, work becomes not just a task but a source of fulfillment and joy.

Orchestrating Team Strategy

In part 2, “Orchestrating Team Strategy,” we shared the inspiring story of John, a remarkable leader who understood the art of weaving a shared vision and empowering his team to orchestrate success. We emphasized the importance of collaborative approaches to developing a shared vision and the significance of balancing strategic planning with agile execution. John’s journey illustrated how a cohesive team culture, authenticity, and support are essential for high performance.

As we move forward in our series, we’re diving into “Unleashing the Operations Playbook.”  We will explore the critical role of effective operations and process management. We’ll discover the power of identifying and leveraging individual and team strengths, fostering a culture of continuous improvement, and driving innovation within your organization.

Our journey so far has equipped you with insights into purpose-driven leadership, creating shared visions, and the pivotal role of balancing strategy and agility. Now, we venture deeper into the realm of operations, where the strengths of your team will be leveraged to their fullest potential.

Operations Playbook

Collaborative approaches to develop a shared vision

The foundation of an effective operations playbook lies in the creation of a shared vision and mission. This crucial step sets the stage for success, aligning team members with a common purpose and direction. In any organization, it’s imperative to bring everyone on board, fostering cohesion and understanding within the team. The process often begins with an all-hands meeting, where team members come together to explore the collective Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses, and Threats (SWOT) that shape their journey. This collaborative analysis allows different perspectives to emerge, enriching the team’s understanding of the road ahead.

However, the journey towards a strong foundation doesn’t end with data collection. It extends to creating team norms and rituals that enhance communication and strengthen connections. Team-building activities beyond the confines of work topics play a pivotal role in solidifying the bonds among team members. These activities not only boost camaraderie but also emphasize authenticity within the team. The emphasis on authenticity fosters trust and open communication, laying the groundwork for successful operations.

In essence, the success of any operations playbook is rooted in the unity of purpose, bringing together diverse perspectives, and creating a culture where team members are not just colleagues but trusted allies on the journey to success. It’s this shared vision and mission that empowers team members to take accountability for their roles and the playbook that guides them.

Balancing Strategic Planning with Agile Execution

Team Accountability

In the realm of operational management, it is crucial to craft a comprehensive operations playbook that serves as the guiding document for your team. Whether you choose to create it in Excel, share it on collaborative platforms like Teams, or utilize dedicated online tools, the key is to establish a centralized repository for strategic and tactical information. 

To ensure ongoing alignment and commitment to the team’s mission, schedule quarterly sessions where the shared vision and purpose are revisited and realigned. Use these gatherings to collectively review the playbook, ensuring that each team member thoroughly understands their role, accountabilities, and interdependencies within projects.

Individual engagement is equally crucial. Integrate playbook reviews into your one-on-one sessions with team members. This personalized approach not only fosters a deeper understanding of the playbook’s significance but also provides a platform for addressing individual concerns and optimizing their contributions to the team.

For effective progress tracking, establish a routine of weekly reviews of ongoing activities. By consistently tracking progress within the playbook, managers can stay attuned to the team’s developments, address challenges promptly, and celebrate achievements collaboratively.

Encourage a culture of empowerment and collaboration by enabling daily updates from team members. This not only empowers individuals to contribute to collective progress but also fosters a sense of shared responsibility. The playbook becomes a dynamic tool for collaboration, ensuring that everyone on the team can update their projects daily and utilize it as a collaborative resource.

Above all, emphasize the playbook as the single source of truth for the team. By doing so, you establish it as the central repository for all relevant information, from strategic directives to project details and team dynamics. This approach ensures a streamlined workflow, facilitating efficient operations and contributing to the overall success of the team.

Crucial Role of Accountability

Key to this process is fostering accountability within the team. Team members must recognize that they play a pivotal role in the success of the playbook, and by extension, the attainment of their objectives. This accountability encompasses their roles and responsibilities and extends to the meticulous tracking and monitoring of their progress. Employing platforms like Excel ensures transparency and facilitates effective management by offering real-time insights into the team’s performance.

What is in the Operations Playbook?

A successful playbook covers a spectrum of components, ensuring a holistic guide for team management:

  • Defining Team Identity and Purpose: This section articulates who the team is and what they aim to achieve.
  • Departmental Strategy: It connects the team’s role within the larger organization with overarching company objectives.
  • 2023 Objectives and Projects: A detailed plan of the team’s specific goals and projects for the year.
  • Key Metrics for 2023: A set of measurable KPIs to gauge progress.
  • Roles and Responsibilities: A well-defined distribution of roles and associated responsibilities.
  • Services Offered: A concise summary of the services that the team provides.

In addition, the playbook also includes operational components:

  • Effective Stakeholder Management: Strategies for building and nurturing stakeholder relationships.
  • Streamlined Operations: Detailed descriptions of the daily workflows and processes.
  • Design Principles: Explanation of the team’s design methodologies.
  • Communication Strategies: Effective means of internal and external team communication.
  • Project Management: An overview of the current and upcoming projects.

Implementing an Operations Playbook

The process of creating and implementing the Team Operations Playbook follows three essential steps:

  1. Develop a Team Operations Playbook: During this phase, participants collaborate to create a practical playbook that outlines crucial strategies and guidelines for effective team management. This playbook forms the bedrock on which the shared vision and mission of the team are established.
  1. Apply the Playbook: After the playbook’s creation, participants actively integrate it into their teams, using it as a reference for managing team operations. They assess its impact, making necessary adaptations, and then implement the playbook’s strategies in their daily management practices.
  1. Reflect and Improve: The final step revolves around reflection exercises designed to evaluate the playbook’s impact. Participants identify areas for enhancement and formulate a plan for continuous improvement. The strategies for team management evolve based on feedback and results, ensuring the playbook remains a flexible and responsive tool for optimizing team performance.

By striking the right balance between strategic planning and agile execution and fostering a culture of accountability, the Team Operations Playbook evolves into a dynamic force that propels teams toward their goals. It empowers teams to effectively navigate challenges, adapt to changing circumstances, and ultimately unlock their full potential.

Why should we care about leveraging the diversity of skills, thoughts, personal purpose, and passion of our team?

As we accelerate the future of leadership with the power of AI we have to understand what we need to be thinking about as we delegate and facilitate a vision. We need to be thinking about what skills and culture we need to thrive in this new time. The opportunity we have now is to really think about how to harness the incredible skills, strengths, and passions of our teams. 

Here are some reasons why: 

  • Maximized Productivity: Imagine a team where everyone’s doing what they’re awesome at. That’s like a well-oiled machine! By tapping into individual strengths and skills, you supercharge your team’s overall performance.
  • Fostered Innovation: Here’s a secret – diversity sparks innovation. When you leverage each team member’s unique strengths and passions, you’re practically lighting a fuse under your creativity. Boom, ideas pop, and problem-solving becomes second nature.
  • Elevated Job Satisfaction: Give folks tasks that align with their passions, and watch their job satisfaction soar. Happy employees are like your workplace’s sunshine – they’re not only beaming but also brimming with motivation and enthusiasm.
  • Competitive Edge: Organizations that cherish diverse skills and passions are the superheroes of the business world. They can pivot deliver at a high level and attract top talent.
  • Sustainable Success: It’s all about building a culture that celebrates individual strengths and passions. Happy and engaged employees stick around. Reduced turnover is your golden ticket to long-term growth.

 Here’s the action plan: Start by getting to know your team inside out. What makes each of them tick? What are they amazing at? Encourage open communication. Invest in workshops and learning opportunities. Let your team have a say in how they work best. Spend time thinking of ways to give each team member recognition for their contributions and you will see a surge in productivity, innovation, job satisfaction, and overall success. 

Stay with us as we uncover the intricacies of building a playbook for effective operations, harnessing the unique talents within your team, and cultivating a culture of perpetual growth and innovation. The series is designed to provide you with a comprehensive roadmap to elevate your leadership prowess, connect with the future of leadership, and excel in your professional journey. Let’s continue to accelerate the future of leadership together.

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Julie Riga
Leadership Coach and Trainer at

Julie Riga is a certified ICF coach, trainer, speaker, and author with over 20 years of experience in the Pharma Industry. With a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a Master's Degree in Business, Julie's expertise lies in leadership, team dynamics, and organizational development. She excels in working with matrix organizations in highly regulated industries, forging authentic connections and orchestrating diverse resources into high-functioning teams that consistently deliver breakthrough results on time and under budget.

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