Brief → Review → Debrief

Your team has identified an important goal, a problem to be addressed, or a valuable opportunity.

So, you call a meeting, discuss what everyone’s roles are and create a plan for how to move forward. On paper, everything is set in order to reach the objective. This meeting is called a briefing.

Off paper however, the plan is not working out as you had initially hoped.

During your review of the plan, you may find important team members had to be pulled to a different project, or the timeline you set at the start is inadequate, or maybe the objective is simply much more challenging that initially thought.

At this point, your options are (1) keep struggling and hope that everything will work out in the end (2) abandon the plan altogether or (3) to take a step back, recalibrate, and get back in it.

Option 3 is the only option that gives your team the opportunity to grow and learn.

Review meetings are important because its a structured learning process aimed at continuously adjusting plans while they’re being executed.

It’s more than just a five-minute meeting about what’s going right or wrong. It’s an in depth look about why things unfolded the way they did and what their potential implications are.

When an aspect of the plan is succeeding or failing, there needs to be an accurate understanding of the root causes.

Conversations regarding a specific failure can be uncomfortable, and people may hide behind their egos. As the team leader, it is imperative that you push your team through the discomfort.

Everyone will realize that the initial discomfort they feel is insignificant compared to the feeling of repeating the same mistakes over and over.

Once the project is completed, it is important to meet and discuss the problems that arose, and how to deal with them better in the future. This is the debrief.

The team needs to understand exactly how they succeeded or failed so that they know what to repeat or change in the future.

It will provide closure for your project as well as give yourself a chance to celebrate individual and team accomplishments.

Remember, it’s not more meetings, but better meetings!

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