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The Two Minute Drill: The Simple Daily Habit To Boost Team Productivity

Plus a free tracking template that converts daily data into transformative insights.

QB Josh Allen celebrates another perfectly executed two-minute drill

Read Time: 2 minutes

We love sports. We love watching our favorite teams compete. We love the lessons our kids learn on and off the fields. We love the parallels between big-time sports and business. 

And while the stats geeks will tell us that every minute in a game is created equally, the romantic fan in me knows this isn't true. 

Take the NFL. Whenever you score, it counts the same. And yet, when the clock is winding down on the game, most teams change their approach. 

They run the two-minute drill. 

  • The playbook is simplified. 

  • They sacrifice perfection for pace. 

  • They stop talking and focus on execution. 

While athletes cannot sustain this level of effort for 60 minutes, it often serves teams well in the waning minutes. 

Many years ago, I discovered a parallel practice on my team that created a similar effect. In a beautiful moment of mixed metaphors, I dubbed this process "Called Shots." In just a couple of minutes each day, I massively improved my team's output. 

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Get Your Team To Call Their Shots

Here’s my formula…

Written Commitments

Every morning, I ask the team to draft a note with the 3-5 most important things they'll deliver that day. 

Notice my language here: deliver. I'm not looking for activity tracking; I want my team to drive work to clear conclusions. 

Not every piece of work is done in a day, but there are usually clear milestones. "Working on a proposal" would not pass my test. "First draft of proposal" or "Getting sign off on number from CFO for proposal" would be good.

Mutual Accountability

Then, I ask them to send it to me and CC the rest of the team. This act of publicly declaring what you'll do today to help the team win does three things: 

  • It encourages people to be creative and ambitious.

  • It creates cross-team transparency very efficiently.

  • It creates self-accountability due to peer pressure

Continuous Improvement

I don't expect perfection. If we set ambitious goals, we'll sometimes miss. But every time we miss, we should learn something.

Before the wrap-up for the day, I ask them to respond to their morning commitments. Next to each one:

  • Complete or Incomplete

  • And if Incomplete, one sentence as to why

This simple act of pausing to ask, "Why?" will profoundly affect how quickly your team compounds.  

Pattern Recognition

 At the end of the week, it's time to zoom out. 

  • What was your win rate? 75-80% is ideal for being sufficiently ambitious while making real progress. 

  • Patterns that supported success? Success leaves clues. Look for anything repeatable next week. Types of work. Time of day.   

  • Patterns that lead to losses? Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Don't be crazy. Be honest about what broke and fix it. Hint: "Try harder" or "Work longer" are unacceptable answers. 

Connecting the dots across days is how you spot the patterns that support compounding. And compounding is how good teams become great.

Performance Enhancing Additions

Errors of Estimation or Execution - When someone shows a pattern of missing commitments, 90% of issues come down to:

  • Estimation - Thinking the work is easier than it is.

  • Execution - Getting distracted from doing the work. 

Make sure you know which one is tripping your team up.

Role Model Behavior - If you really want this to take off on your team, you should hold yourself to the same standard as the team. Send your commitments daily and maintain a high standard for grading your outcomes objectively. 

Free Bonus Template

As you know, I believe less is more. If you have a team of two, this is 100% doable via email. As the team gets bigger, that can produce a lot of noise in the inbox. We built a simple spreadsheet template for those teams and gave everyone a tab. 

The downside is that this can reduce accountability. Our move to deal with that was to name an "accountability captain" each week, ensuring everyone kept up with the practice and provided "Whys" for their misses. 

The Cold Open

Our open rate on this playbook for over a year was consistently over 50%. Three weeks ago, it oddly dipped into the mid-30s. While we dig into why, I wanted to share the links from those three:

I was especially proud of the last one, which we got a lot of positive feedback on.

Podcast Alert

I had a blast on the Truth, Lies, and Work podcast.

I knew it would be fun when I got the prep note, and one bullet read, “We don't mind swearing (just not the really bad word).” But they’re Brits, so before we started recording, I had to ask, “Which one is the really bad one?” Thankfully, there’s no evidence of my colorful guesses…

When we were recording, we covered a range of topics, including…

  • The differences between hiring and recruiting

  • The optimal frontier between impact and efficiency

  • Why one-on-one meetings are the last meetings I’d cut

Find it on Spotify, Apple, or your favorite platform.

Thank you for reading. Appreciate you!


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