Conduct periodic after-action reviews to evaluate and analyze performance and results

Posted: November 25, 2013 in Leadership
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December is just around the corner. The year end is always a good time to analyze your plans and actions in order to determine ways to correct or improve performance. The military has formalized this approach through the After Action Review Process.

I’ve created the diagram below as a quick way to explain the basic concepts. I often use it with my clients. It’s not meant as a full-scale description of how to go about AAR, but it does show some basic approaches for a meaningful analysis. The process starts by comparing your actions to your initial goals. You then determine whether they have been effective or ineffective. If ineffective, what are the causes so you can improve the next time around? However, even if you judge you’ve been relatively effective in your actions, there is always room for improvement.

Of course, the insights you generate are only useful to the extent that you actually take action to implement them as changes within your organization or business. In other words, the outcome of AAR is lessons learned.

After Action Review Process


Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

  1. […] After every major undertaking, it’s always a good idea to conduct an after-action review to determine what went well, what went poorly, and how to improve for the next time around. This is modelled on the military approach to after-action review, which I’ve described in more detail here. […]

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