Drive Continuous Improvement with a simple process

With the pace of business today it can be very tempting to finish a project and then rush off to the next one without even so much as a pause - after all there’s always a backlog of ‘stuff’ clamoring for our attention.

The way I see it, that ‘stuff’ can, and should, wait just a few moments more.

The military, and elite units in particular, go through a set process after every major activity - from a training exercise to a routine patrol to a full-on firefight with the enemy we never pass up on the opportunity to do better tomorrow what we just did today.

And that same process can help you to deliver real productivity improvements in your business.

We call this process the After-Action Review and it's unfortunately all too frequently overlooked in business - in fact when I delivered a written AAR to a client recently he told me that this was the first time anyone had ever done this sort of thing for him! It's a powerful tool to use after any business activity, whether it's a project you've just completed or a response plan that you've just invoked as a result of a major workplace incident.

An AAR is a structured, facilitated conversation designed to identify not just the negative aspects that must be addressed but also the positive aspects that must be sustained; it’s this latter aspect that marks the difference between an AAR and a traditional critique or debrief.

It can be conducted informally or formally depending on the setting, time available and operational requirements - the important thing is that it's done whilst the facts are still clear in everyone's mind.

Click here for a free copy of the template I use when conducting a formal AAR in a business context.

Adam O'DonnellComment