Do you make it a regular practice to review a project after it’s completed to determine what went right and what was missing? If you don’t, it might be because of the limited time you believe your team has. The truth is that spending a small amount of time on reviewing what occurred during the execution of a project or initiative could save you LOTS of time in the future. The time you spend to obtain insights during an after action review will most certainly be a high return on your investment.
READ THIS: Some excerpts from this article include: An AAR is an assessment conducted after a project or major activity that allows employees and leaders to discover and learn what happened and why. The art of an AAR is in the obtainment of mutual trust so that people will speak freely. Innovative behavior should be the norm. Problem solving should be pragmatic and employees should NOT be preoccupied with status, territory, or second guessing “what the leader will think.”
- It does not judge success or failure.
- It attempts to discover why things happened.
- It focuses directly on the tasks and goals that were to be accomplished.
- It encourages employees to surface important lessons in the discussion.
- More employees participate so that more of the project or activity can be recalled and more lessons can be learned and shared.
ASK THIS: You can make the AAR process very simple by asking several questions and allowing everyone on the team a chance to submit thoughts or share in your next meeting: What went right? What was missing? What would we do differently in the future? What do we appreciate about what just happened?
WATCH THIS: This (2:43) video will help you understand the methodology of an AAR, who should be involved, and how it is best executed with your team. The after action review process is a learning tool, NOT a disciplinary action.
As a strong and competent leader, you create the vision and direction for your team. Finding out what went right and what is missing can be valuable in accomplishing your highest level directives for the future. Make the time to do one this week. Below is a format you can use for your next after action review.