Reflect, according to Dictionary.com, means to ponder, think or meditate. But according to an article on inc.com, U.S. military leaders take this definition even deeper, as they work continuously to improve everything they do. Businesses should be no different. You should want to measure performance and success, not only by sales figures, but also by marketing strategies, educational efforts, customer service and basically any action you take, or mission, as it is referred to in the military.
Military leaders use the debrief, a self-facilitated review of how the team performed on the mission, so things can improve for the next time. In other words, they gather all those involved with a project, engagement, training, promotion, and meet as soon afterward as possible to reflect, get feedback and adjust for future success. Author Gene Hammett said, “You should do a debrief when things are going well just as much as you should when things don’t go well. Using the debrief style of meeting in my work with fast-growth companies has given them a faster path to improvement and speeds a transfer of knowledge across all levels of the organization.”
Hammett offers three tips to business leaders to have a productive debrief through reflection, which should help increase sales and foster employee morale.
1. Include Everyone
Make sure at each debriefing you include every person who was involved, not just those in leadership, but also those who actively participated. They all will have input – both good and bad. As Hammett writes, “Many organizations wonder why they have experience at the top of the company yet lack it at the middle and bottom. One reason is they are not including the full team in the moments of reflection and growth.”
A sign of a good leader is being sure to include everyone. Did you recently host a producer meeting? Have a debrief to reflect on how it was received. Be sure to include those who talked to customers, took orders and even served food. They will all have feedback so you can make future events better for your customers and ultimately your business.
2. Leave Rank at the Door
When you conduct the debrief from your latest “mission” or project, be sure to treat everyone as equals. Yes, that might seem challenging, especially for leaders who like to take charge of meetings. However, it is the best way to hear everyone’s perspective that could ultimately lead to areas for new growth. When everyone is viewed as an equal it is easier to admit faults to create better solutions for the future.
Rob “Waldo” Waldman, a former Air Force Fighter pilot turned author and speaker, offers this advice on the debriefing process: “Leaders must remove their ego. When you leave your rank at the door, you allow others to be open to their mistakes.”
3. Close Effectively
There are two ways to end the meeting with purpose and clarity. First, whoever is leading the meeting should ask for questions. Questions give the opportunity to clarify any topic that wasn’t discussed and ensure that everything that was covered is understood by all. Questions also provide insight about where the leadership might want to improve to make the next project or mission clearer for the audience.
Next, conclude the meeting with a statement that outlines clear and actionable growth steps that need to be made and list who will be responsible for those duties. Once that concluding statement is made, all attendees should be on the same page, and know what to expect for the next project, and they will know their role in making improvements.
The military debriefing might just be the next best thing since Amaferm® . It is a model for you and your employees to follow to reflect and meet after a project or event, so you know how to make the next one even better. Improving your business one day and one project at a time will help you grow your customer base and will help you grow your business.