How to get the best from your team using the 6Ps Team Playbook process

workplace satisfaction

When we think about the opportunistic and challenging context we are operating in today, it’s clear that teamworking is becoming even more vital for our success. It’s not possible to be effective using outdated command and control approaches. It’s not possible that the people at the top have all the answers!

Teamworking has always been important and as the rules of running our organisations have changed, a collaborative approach is proving to be vital, particularly when there is so much change.   We need agile teams to collaborate and craft solutions as the rules of business keep evolving. We need leaders who can build many teams quickly and efficiently, not just build one working group.

The question is how do you create and maintain high performance teams?

I’ve been very fortunate to be able to build many different types of teams over the past 32 years. These teams have been from many different sectors, cultures and operating contexts. The good news is that there is a specific pattern that has emerged that I can share with you now to build elite teams really quickly.

Before I share the secrets with you I do need you to make a promise. Repeat after me, “I will not leave my current job and become a teambuilding consultant!” Great, now I can share the crown jewels!

The biggest mistake I see many leaders making is that they focus on driving deliverables straight away instead of building relationships and teams. It is an understandable behaviour as we are all measured on deliverables as opposed to trust. However, if we focus only on deliverables it’s a bit like buying a Ferrari and not taking it out of first gear! The intellectual capital of your team, and therefore results, will increase with the better the relationships and interaction you promote.

Ever wondered why we struggle to build teams? Let’s go back to your classroom to an experience we’ve all probably had. When your teacher asked you a question, how did you respond? Normally what happens is you think about the question and if you know the answer you stick your hand up, in the hope that your teacher will ask you to share your knowledge. This repeated pattern of behaviour starts our need for recognition and reward, “me miss, me, me, ask me, I know!”

I wonder what would have happened if you had turned around to your classmates and tried to have dialogue and discussion around the question, what would the teacher have done? If you went to a school like mine then the teacher would have told you off, told you to be quiet or even reported you and sent you to the headmaster as you continued to be a ‘disruptive member’ of the class. We are taught that teamworking is cheating! Think for a moment how that plays out in your work and your behaviour today.

Teams need to be set up correctly. I was coaching a project manager from a global organisation who was running multi-million, high risk, visible projects and struggling. They had cost overruns happening, unhappy customers with the wrong things being delivered, missing deadlines – not a great picture. When we explored the challenge we found that it was their inability to build teams that was causing the problems.

He was too busy doing the work himself. He had no time to manage stakeholders and make the on-going changes required to the project. Once I coached him how to build and run project teams and shared collaboration techniques, the world was a great place again.

So let’s have a look at what I’ve found out about setting up your team for success. I have found that using a 6Ps Team Playbook process to be the most effective way to build a team quickly. Here is the framework:

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As well as helping create a high performance environment, the three main reasons why it’s so important are:

  1. People and teams are a major source of competitive advantage.  As leaders we need to engage and enable our teams for success – 6Ps is a great tool to do this.
  2. The speed of change is faster than our ability to learn. We need tools to aide with ambiguity and gaining direction through the fog – 6Ps ensures your team is on the same page.  This helps you to manage by exception and empower your team, as long as they have the capability to perform.
  3. In our fast moving competitive world we need agility and speed of decision making.  Carrying out the 6Ps with your team gives you this.  It should be used for decision making – having an agreed way of making decisions speeds up your team and reduces cost – i.e. less meetings!

By now you’re probably wondering how do I create a Team Playbook?
The best way to complete a Team Playbook is to plan, prepare and conduct a team workshop. Depending how big or complex your team is this can range from half a day to three days for a large global team.  Always build awareness and desire by educating your team on why this is important before leaping into creating it.  Follow this six stage process to ensure success:

Stage 1: Planning and Preparing

  • Clarify workshop purpose and outcomes
  • Identify workshop participants
  • Select methods/tools you are going to use to meet purpose and culture/personalities
  • Decide if doing all 6 P’s in one session or splitting them.
  • Always start with Purpose
  • Develop & distribute a personal invite – explaining why, how & what you will be doing.
  • Can get group to think about elements before they arrive
  • Set up room – get creative!

Stage 2: Starting the Workshop

  • Check in and welcome
  • Review purpose of workshop
  • Establish WHY 6 Ps is important
  • If team has been together for a while you could ask the 6 questions to the group to see if they know the answers and are aligned – good way to build the awareness and desire for change
  • You can do an engagement exercise at the start to build desire – consequences of not changing,  benefits of changing, blockers to change
  • Now WHY is established clarify the HOW and WHAT by doing Hopes and Fears exercise –  then kill any risks

Stage 3 – Crafting the 6Ps

  • Introduce 6 Ps template
  • You can share examples of other teams if appropriate
  • Always start with Purpose
  • World Café technique works well or flip charts around the room.
  • Look for methods that splits the group into small teams as it is hard to do and get agreement of each element as one team – particularly as trust may be low at team start up stage
  • Allow plenty of time for reflection – can plan activities/energised between each element
  • Once you have agreement for an element always have a break and review when the group reconvenes.
  • Once all elements are complete sleep on it and review at a later date.
  • Keep it simple and top level – people have to be able to remember it in order to use it

Stage 4 – Close the Workshop

  • Summarise decisions
  • Review action items
  • Evaluate the meeting
  • Agree next steps
  • Thank participants
  • Urge for action

Stage 5 – Follow Up

  • Photograph or type up and email to participants before they leave the workshop
  • Do next actions
  • Wordsmith and refine and then resend 6Ps out
  • Review, Learn, Apply
  • Hold each other accountable by using it at all future meetings and review sessions
  • Think about how are you going to display the output
  • Think about how are you going to keep it alive?
  • Could you turn the words into a pictorial journey map?

Here is an example 6Ps Team Playbook for a project team.

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Have fun implementing your team playbook – and remember teambuilding is an on-going process.

Graham Wilson, Leadership Expert, Founder of Successfactory™ and Author of Leadership Laid Bare!