The Power of a Debrief


Last week Juan Carlos and I attended a National Technology-Marketing Conference in Nashville where we learned a lot about the newest technology available to small businesses to make them more productive and to lower their IT costs. We also learned about becoming a better company. Since we were really blown away by all the great information, I thought I'd share some of the real gems in our blog posts and newsletters.

During the 3-day event we spent a couple of hours with a consulting group called Afterburner, Inc. They are a team of former elite military professionals who bring the battle-tested process of flawless execution to teams of all kinds; corporations, universities, and professional athletes like the New York Giants. One key idea they shared with us was the power of a debrief to improve performance. The Blue Angels debrief after every single flight, that's almost 300 times a year on the exact same routine. They do it because it makes them better the next time, and for them, if they are off as much as an inch it can be a matter of life or death.

The Afterburner team had us do an hour long exercise where we developed a plan to complete a military mission. We were in a group of about 10 people and each individual had different information and all the information was needed to complete the mission. By design, things got a little chaotic, it was a stressful exercise, the room got very loud and we needed to work right up to the last minute to get our mission completed. Despite this, our team did pretty good. We only lost one F18 fighter jet during the mission; a cost of roughly $12 million to tax payers… good thing it was only a mock exercise!

Then the entire group of over 200 people debriefed the exercise. The learnings that came out of the 10 minute debrief were very valuable and we all agreed that having this in advance would have significantly helped us complete the mission in less time and with a better outcome. It was a great exercise to see the power of a simple, debrief exercise.

At CIO Landing IT, we're starting to debrief all of our initiatives, with the goal of continuously improving our organization and the service we provide our customers. I'd encourage you to give it a try. If you have any questions about how to structure a debrief, give me a call.

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