The quarter just ended. What happened? This isn’t a general question. You had a set of goals for the quarter. Which ones did you nail? Which ones did you fail? Do you know why? Do you care or have you already moved on to the next quarter?
Many company CEOs don’t spend enough time with the management team asking retrospective questions. If you don’t look back and understand what happened, you are missing out on the opportunity to gain insights that will help you get better.
Retrospectives are a key practice that help you get better faster. All you need to do is ask four questions:
• What just happened?
• What went well and why?
• What did not go well and why?
• What can we do differently next time?
The trick is to really answer the questions as openly and honestly as you can (this is a lot tougher than it seems). If you are using retrospectives to review your quarter as a company, gather your senior team in a relaxed environment and have at it.
Beyond retrospectives for the quarter, everyone in your organization can apply retrospectives to any activity or strategy. For example, if you have a business growth strategy that you are executing against, apply a retrospective periodically. If you are working toward creating competitive advantage of one kind or another, take a look at it periodically.
Since the quarter just ended, give retrospectives a try!
Want more information?
I wrote a retrospective series to help people at all levels understand the importance and practice of retrospectives. Recently, we released an eBook “Get Better Faster” that is based on the series and also has some added material from retrospective and after action review experts (the eBook requires registration, but the series doesn’t).