Bill took us with him on a 36 hour mission flying a stealth B-2 bomber from Missouri to Baghdad, Iraq in order to take out targets of the Saddam Hussein regime. He talked about the planning for such an expedition, men and women working around the clock 24 hours a day in order to make the mission as safe and successful as possible. The mission was a success. The targets were hit, the crew safe, and landed 36 hours after their takeoff. Exhausted from the day and a half worth of events, the crew wasn't finished. They reported to their commanding officers for the mission debrief.
This cycle - plan, execute, debrief - was the emphasizing principle. Most of the time, we are taught strategies and principles about planning or executing a plan. However, I was struck because I'm often guilty of skipping the debrief phase in my own life. Bill Crawford pointed out that this is the most important portion of our learning experience. There were 5 questions that they would ask after each mission, and now asks after each of his classroom lessons, and offered up as a way to learn from whatever we want to become the best in.
1. What happened?
2. What went right?
3. What went wrong?
(He went on to point out, this isn't a gripe session, or the blame game)
5. Lessons learned?
THIS IS WHAT I'M MISSING!
I get so caught up with DOING things and getting to the next thing as quickly as possible. But I lose valuable learning opportunities by rushing to my next task without this time of reflection.
I find my exclusion of the debriefing process is especially debilitating to my desire to consume uplifting material. I try to read books with value, listen to helpful podcasts, and attend conferences and webinars that inspire me. But rarely do I ever take the time to reflect on the principles I have learned and do a quick debrief for myself.
The goal to debrief will be a major theme for me in the months and years to come.
This is an idea worth spreading.