In order to create a powerful “learning organisation,” your management team needs to be able to share lessons learned among themselves in a systematic way. Structured debrief sessions following major projects can help your leaders learn from their successes, as well as the times they could have done better.
Debriefing sessions shouldn’t be viewed as negative finger-pointing exercises but as opportunities to acknowledge successes and challenges and then to empower each leader to help others in the organisation learn from their experiences.
Before the debriefing session begins, a strong discussion leader should be appointed who will encourage everyone to contribute but won’t allow personal attacks to derail the conversation.
Here are 11 prompt questions that can be used to guide the discussion during a debriefing session:
- What went well? What didn’t? Why?The key to building a thriving learning organisation is to ensure that knowledge is shared, understood, applied and deployed rapidly throughout your company.
- What was supposed to happen? What did happen? Why was there a difference between what we expected to happen and what did?
- What organisational constraints or barriers did we face? How did we overcome them or did we?
- What existing organisational models or processes enhanced or enabled our performance on this project?
- Did the team meet sufficiently often and work productively together?
- Could time pressures have been alleviated by organising the work differently?
- Did we have enough time to accomplish all of the tasks to make this project a success?
- Could we have taken another approach to reach our goals more efficiently and effectively?
- Was the goal always clear?
- Were the instructions always clear?
- How can we do better next time?
During the debriefing session, be sure to capture the main points and get agreement on how to circulate the lessons learned outside your team. The key to building a thriving learning organisation is to ensure that knowledge is shared, understood, applied and deployed rapidly throughout your company.
Do you hold structured debrief sessions? Do you systematically capture lessons learned at the conclusion of major projects? Is yours a learning organisation? Ask, assess, then act. We’re here to help!