Playbooks are the norm in sales and marketing, but not in communications. Why is that?

Is it because for the most part communicators tend to be creative (right-brain), intuitive, ‘big-picture’ thinkers, who dislike excessive rules, regulations, or standard operating procedures?  Sweeping generalisation I know, but I’ve met a lot of classic ENFP & ESFP Myers Briggs types in my 20 years in communications … and I’m one myself.

I’m currently working with a client to help them develop their internal communications playbook – it sets out their go-to approach and includes process workflows, templates and the cultural values that shape a consistent response when an internal business partners says: ‘can you help me with x, y, z?’.

They are also using the playbook to embed ‘value-based consulting’ and reposition the internal communications team as consultative problem solvers, who change behaviours, so that the company achieves its strategic and financial goals.

Sounds good, right? Why wouldn’t you want that? It makes it easier for new team members to get up to speed, being clear on what is in and out of scope saves time, and it provides a transparent and consistent level of service to business partners.

With Rugby World Cup dominating our TV screens and conversations, it got me thinking. Does the Irish Rugby team have a playbook? Of course they do, I hear them talk about it in interviews. I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnny Sexton and his teammates have memorised every single play. I hope it gets them to the quarter finals, and beyond.

Playbooks are critical to any team sport.

I say, let’s have more communications playbooks, so we can put our energy into the fun stuff – delivering communications solutions that drive business outcomes – rather than reinventing processes.