[Webinar] The 4 Things Successful Teams Always Do

Written by:
Matt "T-bone" Brady

The 4 Things Successful Teams Always Do

Flawless Execution Webinar Series

Our Flawless Execution methodology is derived from the processes used by Elite Military Teams across the globe. In this webinar, your host Matt “T-Bone” Brady helps you understand the why behind each of the four steps of Flawless Execution – Plan, Brief, Execute, Debrief.


In this month’s webinar, we discuss the four things successful teams always do. As many of you know, these four steps are the engine that drives our Flawless Execution methodology, Plan, Brief, Execute, Debrief. We help you understand the why behind each of these four steps:

Plan – Why is it critical to have each member of the team in person during Planning?
Brief – How do you assure each team member is aligned as you begin the plan Execution?
Execute – How do you identify gaps in Execution throughout the mission?
Debrief – What is the key to a nameless and rankless Debrief?


This model is the foundation for everything we teach at Afterburner. So, at Afterburner, Flawless Execution is not just a goal or a model. It’s an organizational model that we’ve developed for the past 21 years in business and before that with our elite military heritage. The model is extremely simple shape – a pyramid. The shape and simplicity are intentional because as military pilots, Navy Seals, Army Special Forces, we need to keep things simple. This is because in the chaos, in the complexity of warfare, we must be able to fall back on a simple, scalable, proven process to win.

Today, we will talk about the center of the model – the Flawless Execution cycle.


As pilots, before we fly the mission we must Plan using a common, rapid, scalable framework to direct our activities. Now, you may have a planning framework in your organization, but does it ensure alignment and is understood by everybody? Does it drive accountability to the scale throughout the organization? Those are the attributes that are unique to our model.

After we Plan, we Brief the Plan to the team who will be held accountable for implementing the Plan. Everyone must know who will do what, by when with no questions as we prepare to execute. So, how do we Brief? And what is it? Well, from a mechanical standpoint, in the Army we use the five paragraph operations order. At Afterburner we have distilled that into the easy to use acronym B.R.I.E.F. Here’s the breakdown:

► Brief the Scenario
► Restate the Mission Objective
► Identify Top Threats & Resources
► Execute the Final Plan
► Flexibility and Contingency Plan Review

We want to make sure that we think about those “What ifs” when we start to encounter those external factors we didn’t anticipate but we knew might be there, so we can pivot the plan quickly.

Now we are ready to Execute! But no matter how well we’ve done during Planning and Briefing, there’s one thing that always has the potential to stand in the way of Flawless Execution. Task Saturation. The performance draining effects of task saturation, we know it all too well. As Task Saturation increases, our execution errors also increase. And as it increases, our performance decreases.

Now, you may not have a problem with Task Saturation, but I would challenge you that you’re just not looking hard enough because it’s in your organization It’s in your work flow. It happens to you when you’re sometimes not even aware of it. So Plan, Brief, Execute and then, Debrief.

Companies that don’t Debrief are missing a vital opportunity to improve future performance. And so, as military professionals, as soon as our mission is over, we go into a room and conduct the nameless and, rankless Debrief with the sole purpose of improving future Execution. We want to repeat today’s successes and avoid repeating today’s mistakes. This is done in front of superiors, subordinates, and peers. We openly admit what worked and what didn’t to generate Lessons Learned and accelerate future performance of the team. We break down barriers with communications by setting an environment where everyone has a chance to admit mistakes. A Debrief is both a teaching and a learning opportunity. It is not a blame session. So, how do you make it effective? How do you do it? How do you assure it’s nameless and rankless?

You take your own rank off first. Shocking, I know. Leadership by example, one of the most powerful leadership tools in our tool of Flawless Execution. This is done with inside-outside criticism. Inside criticism sounds like this, “Hey team, here’s where I fell short as your ace, as your leader. Here’s where I could’ve served you better.” And the outside part is asking your team, “How could I have done better?” Take two or three daggers coming back your way to models the behavior you’re looking for. If you put up your wall the first time someone says you disappointed them as a leader they will too the next time you criticize a decision they made.



About the Speaker:

As an Executive Consultant for Afterburner, Matt trains the leaders of global organizations to utilize the same processes and techniques used by elite military teams in the high-stakes environment of combat.

Matt Brady is a retired Army Special Operations officer with over 18 years of operational, strategic, and organizational leadership experience. He’s a West Point graduate, holds a Masters of Philosophy Degree in Military Strategy, and received his MBA from Harvard Business School. He’s also an Executive Consultant at Afterburner, Inc., a veteran owned and operated small business dedicated to helping good companies become great by leveraging the tools and techniques of Flawless Execution.