Operation Debrief: The Secret Weapon of High Performing Teams


Operation Debrief: The Secret Weapon of High Performing Teams

Without a holistic solution to optimize mission and project execution, no group will ever become a high-performing team. Even the best tactical training tools and techniques will soon be forgotten if you do not optimize execution at every level. At Afterburner, our team of current and former elite military professionals understand the unique challenges of developing and leading high-performing teams. That’s why we’ve spent the last two decades refining and augmenting the techniques of those elite military teams we were a part of to your front-line teams via a simple, scalable methodology called Flawless Execution.

Flawless Execution

Flawless Execution is a proven performance improvement methodology that equips teams with an operational framework to develop leaders with a mission-first, team-always mentality. It is much more than a tactical execution improvement tool. Flawless Execution is a comprehensive approach to optimizing tactical and strategic execution at any level by improving communication, collaboration, and teamwork. We know there is one secret weapon every high-performing team knows about and is committed to using.

This secret weapon is much more than just a tactical training tool. It is a proven process, in combat and in business, that high-performing teams across the globe are using. It is a process, a culture, a mentality of Debriefing to share Lessons Learned across teams and organizations—after every single iteration of every single level of execution.

What is a High-Performing Team?

When you hear the term “High-Performing Team,” what do you envision?

  1. Special Forces Teams preparing for an operation?
  2. Football teams methodically marching down the field during the Super Bowl?
  3. Surgical teams executing a lengthy and complicated procedure?

At Afterburner, we’ve had the opportunity to work with many high-performing teams, including all three of those listed above. Although they are all excellent, there is one team that performs at a level that is almost unimaginable to the rest of the world—the crew of a United States Naval Aircraft Carrier.

Despite an average age of just 19 years old and 90% turnover every four years, Naval Aircraft Carriers are one of the world’s most recognized “operationally excellent” organizations. This team is all aligned with a common goal, towards a common destination of what they want to achieve. Why is that? Because carrier crews, fighter pilots, and military special operators know that organizational excellence is achieved by focusing on leadership development that drives continuous learning, individual engagement, and mission-first operations. This motivates people and they get excited to get better at their jobs every day.

Common Traits of High-Performing Teams

There are three common traits that stick out from the Naval Aircraft Carrier and other high-performing teams alike:

1. Leader-Driven Mentality: Leadership is critical at every level, from the crew on the flight deck to the leaders in the kitchen making meals for 5,000 people. Leadership creates a process that the entire team can rally behind.

2. A Shared Process: This process, modeled after Flawless Execution, aligns the team. Individuals plan what they need to execute, the leader briefs the team, execution follows, and finally, the team debriefs to share Lessons Learned and improve organizational performance.

3. Scalability: The process is scalable, usable for a small team, an individual, or an entire organization. Debriefing allows the process to be easily repeatable and scalable.

The ORCA Debrief Process

You do not have time to not debrief. Losing out on an opportunity every time you fail to hold a debrief. The debrief model we use at Afterburner is the ORCA Debriefing model.

Objectives: Start by clearly stating the objectives of the mission or project. What were you trying to achieve?

Results: Review the actual results. Did you meet your objectives? If not, why?

Causes: Analyze the causes behind the results. What factors contributed to your success or failure?

Actions: Develop actionable steps based on the analysis to improve future performance. What changes will you implement moving forward?

Mastering Execution Efficiency

At the end of the day, mission, or any time a project comes to an end, high-performing teams use the ORCA Debrief model and reflect on how things went. They ask: What were the lessons learned? What didn’t go as planned? Were there any obstacles that slowed down work or prevented the team from accomplishing its mission? This holistic solution to achieving execution efficiency is the foundation of Flawless Execution. As you go out and execute missions with your team, never forget to use the secret weapon of high-performing teams – The Debrief!

Ready to transform your team’s performance? Implement the power of debriefing today and watch your team’s execution soar. Contact us to learn how!