A template for writing a team plan

The book The Advantage is all about improving “organizational health” and it lists some questions any company should be able to answer about itself.

Turns out, these questions are great for planning an individual team too. Here’s my boiled down version of them. Try filling this out for your team, and if there are any that don’t have clear answers, then work on that!

XYZ Team

Why do we exist? 

Pick a purpose, just one step below “to make the world a better place.” This should be inspiring and aspirational.

Example: We exist because we believe the world needs more great leaders.

How do we behave? 

What are the core values of the team? These should be useful for making decisions, and unique to this team.

Example: We behave with passion, humility, and emotional intelligence.

What do we do?

What’s the one sentence business definition of the team? This should be boring and understandable.

Example: We provide services and resources for leaders who want to make their organizations more effective.

How will we succeed? 

Consider everything imaginable that the team does or will do – hiring, branding, QA, user feedback, development workflow, customer support, etc. Write it all down, and then look for patterns. This should be messy and chaotic, but you should eventually find a few strategic anchors that are related to a lot of the items in the list. 

Example: We will differentiate ourselves by providing extremely high-touch service, staying relatively small and protecting our unique culture, and leveraging the ideas of world-class subject matter experts.

What is most important, right now?

Pick a thematic goal which is singular (the one most important thing), qualitative (no numbers attached to it), and temporary (achievable within a clear time boundary, usually 3-12 months), and shared across the leadership team. 

Then define the objectives within that thematic goal. These are the categories of activity required to achieve that goal.

Finally, define the standard operating objectives, which are the ongoing and straightforward metrics and areas of responsibility that any team must maintain to keep afloat.


  • Thematic goal: Expand our consulting practice
  • Defining objectives:
    • Hire more consultants
    • Increase advertising for consulting
    • Solicit more referrals from previous clients
    • Start doing free seminars
    • Improve quality of consulting materials
  • Standard Operating Objectives
    • Revenue
    • Client satisfaction
    • Expenses
    • Client retention
    • Staff morale
    • Lead flow
    • Strength of pipeline

Who must do what?

Write down who will own what on the team. Make sure this is well agreed on, and leaves little gray area between overlapping roles.


NameTitleGeneral responsibilities
BobEngineering ManagerBlah blah blah
JaneTech LeadBlah blah blah
BillProduct ManagerBlah blah blah
NancyEngineerBlah blah blah

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