A winning team learns all the time

Don’t miss out on the valuable learning opportunities that come with any significant team endeavor. The after-action review (AAR) is necessarily a team huddle that looks at three questions: (a) What was expected to happen? (b) What happened? (c) What caused the difference? (Between ‘a’ and ‘b’ above). A well-run AAR creates valuable takeaways.

Here are some tips for you as a team leader:
1. Ask each participant to come prepared on the three AAR questions.
2. Take one item at a time and compile the various answers.
3. Put out that compilation and discuss, to collectively arrive at the vital points of view.
4. After that come at a consensus that answers the question, “How will we do this the next time?” Document this and circulate.
5. Encourage each participant to write down two or three key points that he/she is taking away for the “next time.”

What you must avoid as a team leader:
1. Delaying the AAR. Do it when things are fresh in people’s minds.
2. Coming unprepared. Be a prepared team player.
3. Repeating points already stated by others. Give your input after all the views an in on a question.
4. Missing out on collecting valuable data. Ensure all critical issues are addressed.
5. Overestimating your facilitation skills. If required, get a skilled facilitator from your HR function.
6. Using your authority often. Instead, facilitate discussions. Use your authority only for ensuring the adherence to company policies or principles or core values.

– By Sundar Parthasarathy for Zeus

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