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Are you leaving your biggest advantage behind you?

“Hindsight is 20/20,” and yet few people take advantage of this wisdom systematically. How often do we take the time to do a thorough debrief of an event? Yet, so much of our work is cyclical, with yearly conferences, quarterly workshops and weekly meetings.
The immediate value disappears if it is not documented in a timely manner. Research shows the lesser details are forgotten after just 3-6 days. Many people don’t do a debrief session because they are already busy working on the next big thing.

The purpose of the debrief is to find better ways of doing things by identifying mistakes and clarifying objectives. Two important outcomes of this process are to (1) learn and hold onto what works and to (2) share and teach best practices.

Here are 4 topics to address during your debrief session:

1. What worked especially well? What were the highlights?
2. What aspects did not work? What assumptions did we make? What areas needed more support?
3. What were the big(gest) risks we took? Did we take enough risks? How could we better prepare for “surprise factor?”
4. If money, time and resources were not a factor, what would we do differently? What features, benefits or “goodies” would we add to the event? Describe in vivid detail this ideal scene in terms of wild success and flawless execution.

Most crises can be anticipated with the right planning and attention. If you’re shaking your head and saying, “No, I’m always in crisis mode,” then implement this immediately and build it into your culture. You don’t have the luxury of not requiring this essential aspect of productivity management. By making the debrief session part of the complete process, you’ll add an effective planning tool to your management ability and to your organization’s future. Take advantage of all you can learn from the past to make your future even better.

Jason W. Womack, MEd, MA, and Jodi Womack, MA, help busy professionals up level their organizational performance through maximizing time, energy, focus, and technology.

Visit to read a free chapter of Jason’s new book, on the advantage of keeping your word.

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