Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Make Sure Tomorrow is Better Than Today

Yesterday, I talked about Briefing and the power it has to shape your day. But Briefs are only half the story. Briefs make what ever you are getting ready to do better. However, if you want to make everything you do even better tomorrow than it was today, then you must first reflect on what happened. And you must, as much as possible, do it as objectively as you can. In the world of Aviation, we gave that reflection a name - the Debrief.

If the Blue Angels are the masters (in my mind) of the Brief, then Top Gun is the gurus of the Debrief.

In Naval Aviation, our budgets are cut more each and every year - forcing us to figure out how to do more with less - something I wish more people in the Government should be trying to do. As flight hours and training time gets the biggest slash every year, our entire community has focused on making sure that we get every bit of training we can from every flight. To do this, Naval Aviation, led by Top Gun, has perfected the Debrief.

What is a Debrief? It's little more than systematically reviewing an event (or an entire day) and finding "Goods" and "Others" that you can take away as lessons learned.

What's a "Good" and what's an "Other"?

A "Good" should be obvious - it's something that you did well that day - something that worked for you in the course of doing what you briefed you were going to do. While an "Other" (in the true politically correct sense) is those things that didn't go quite as well as you had planned they would go - literally things that didn't work for you in the course of the event or day.

Now, in any given event (or day), you could probably find 100 things that were good, and 100 that didn't go so well. But, since most of us (especially Pilots) have short attention spans, let's keep the list of each to 3. Yep, I don't care how well your day went or how poorly it went, the key to a Debrief is finding 3 of each - every time.

So, after your event / day is done, sit down and take 10-15 minutes to reflect on your "Goods" and "Others". Write them down and if you are really bold, review them as part of you next Brief. This will help you keep your "Goods" happening and increase the likelihood that the "Others" won't happen again. Or you will at least make an effort to correct them.
If you have any questions or comments on Briefing and Debriefing, please leave a comment. I look forward to what everyone thinks.

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