Last week, I was in an “after action review” conversation with my friend and co-conspirator of the Pareto Realty sponsorship of the 2014 Live on the Green Music Festival William Cochran (owns and operates The Inn @ Evins Mill).
As we were wrapping up, William mentioned that he enjoys receiving his “Monday Morning Coffee” each week, BUT he wishes I would pick a different day to send it.
Y’see . . . William made the point that In most people’s worlds, Monday mornings are not the optimal time for pausing long enough to read a blog post. Most folks are scrambling to get things in order for the week and to clean up any messes that emerged during the weekend. He said that some Mondays he sees my email pop in and wants to read it but there’s too much on his plate to pause long enough to read it.
I felt an instant wave of calm relief swoosh over me because I, too, am often scrambling on Monday Mornings and am hard pressed to make the time to write that blog post.
So . . . That moment, I decided to continue to call it “Monday Morning Coffee” but will publish it on Wednesday mornings.
You might wonder: “Why not call it “Wednesday Morning Coffee?”
Call it sentimental or nostalgic or being “stuck in a rut” . . . but I’m just not ready for THAT much change all at once 🙂
There’s real value in this practice of doing an “After Action Review” following the conclusion of any project/Operation.
When I was in the Army upon completion of every mission, we had a very dialed in process which happened in this order:
- Inventorying our people, weapons, and supplies
- Cleaning and re-supplying so as to be ready for the next mission
- Feeding and rejuvenating (Rest) our bodies
- Gathering for a very intentional AAR (After Action Review)
It was in these AAR sessions that we learned from each other. This gave us the opportunity to praise and critique our collective and individual performance.
We always began by stating the purpose of the Mission . . . What had we set out to accomplish?
Followed by a series of very simple questions:
- Did we accomplish the mission?
- If not – Is the objective still important?
- How did it go? According to plan?
- What could we have done differently for better and more efficient Mission Accomplishment?
- What obstacles emerged that we had not anticipated?
- How did we deal with these obstacles (Over, Under, Through, Around)?
- Is there a need to change any of our SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) as a result of this mission?
- Was there any “Internal Conflict” between our team members that we need to resolve NOW?
- Are there any loose ends?
This is how people and groups (organizations) grow and stretch themselves over time.
As a restaurant Manager, I used the AAR at the conclusion of every shift . . .
After each Real Estate Closing, we follow this AAR procedure . . .
This can be very exciting stuff because it takes a LOT of the pressure off each time . . . It cleanses the palate of experience such that we are always feeling like we are moving FORWARD and making progress.
Besides, it’s very liberating to know that we erred . . . named the issue . . . and adjusted our process accordingly such that we don’t ever have to make that same error again.
This is not a punitive exercise.
This is “Learning Based” organizational growth and development at its finest.
On this hump day, I hope you are riding the wave of a fabulously successful week.
Don’t forget to do your AAR for the week Friday afternoon and let me know how it goes 🙂