Chapter 6

Evaluate Lessons Learned

Six Steps of Planning

1. Determine the mission objective.
2. Identify the threats.
3. Identify your available and needed resources.
4. Evaluate lessons learned.
5. Develop a course of action.
6. Plan for contingencies.

Everyone thinks that they plan well. In truth, some do and some don't. Some people may even take the time to brief what they plan, but one thing is for sure: Everyone executes, some more effectively than others. However, few debrief, or conduct some form of formal learning activity at the end of a project or mission. It doesn't matter whether you call it debriefing, after-action review (AAR), or postmortem, the point of learning from what you execute is to produce a lesson learned. It's your opportunity to recognize what you should or shouldn't do in the future. Civilian businesses have recognized the value of debriefing practices, but reading about how to debrief or conduct an AAR and actually facilitating one are two very different things. Hence, teaching teams how to debrief and produce lessons learned is vitally important. Debriefing is another rare skill that employers need. You must help them recognize this.

Military teams conduct formal learning processes to identify lessons learned. Once documented, teams utilize those lessons in future planning. This simple approach to planning, then executing, then learning, then planning again creates a powerful cycle of continuous improvement. Step Four in the planning process, then, ...

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