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Improve your team with After Action Reviews

after action review

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To conduct After Action Reviews (AAR) with teams originates from the US Army, and it has proven to be a very efficient way to promote development and performance in a team. Studies have shown that After Action Reviews can increase team performance with 20-25% on average*.

An After Action Review is structured feedback about action, behavior and results, and the purpose is for the team to learn and improve.

It is quite easy to conduct an AAR, but it is important to have a good structure in the meeting to get the desired effects. If it gets too informal, the effect of the AAR is reduced.

Here is a simple structure to use when you conduct After Action Reviews:

What was the target?
How well did we reach the target?
What did we do well and why?
What did we not do that well, and how do we change that?

To get a good structure at the meeting, it can sometimes be good to have an external facilitator.

Decide also before the meeting how much time each agenda point is allowed to take, and how much time each team member has to present their points.

It is of course also important that you before the meeting have decided what the scope for your AAR should be. E.g. evaluation of sales targets, communication in the team, or the week’s work in the team.

Before you start the meeting, also clarify the rules of the game: how we should be against each other.

Examples of rules of the game

  • Everyone is expected to participate and to be active
  • Everyone will get the opportunity to speak
  • Being open for new thoughts and ideas
  • Focus on being constructive and how we can improve

Good luck with After Action Reviews in your team!

* Tannenbaum, S. I., & Cerasoli, C. P. (2012). Do team and individual debriefs enhance performance? A meta-analysis. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 55(1), 231–245.

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