The Value Of AARs

“Chunking” time into small increments to create checkpoints enables us to diagnose and, if necessary, course correct and accelerate so we are always moving toward the results we want.

How can we effectively create checkpoints? With after-action reviews, or AARs, following a process that began in the military. 

Completing an AAR requires us to ask 4 simple questions:

  1. What was expected to happen?
  2. What did happen?
  3. What went wrong, and why?
  4. What went well, and why?

AARs address facts to identify the problems that kept us from achieving our objectives. Completing AARs helps us understand why we didn’t achieve our objectives, helping us focus on creating solutions going forward. AARs are great for both individual check ins and team check ins, creating personal and shared accountability and alignment to results.

Checkpoints take dates way out into the future and enable you to “check in” to make sure you are “on track.” Important to note: being “off track” isn’t negative or bad. It just means you have an opportunity to get back “on track.”

Course corrections are very valuable, but not always needed. For example, when everything is working well and on track, the question becomes, “How can we accelerate our success?”

Whether good or bad, when you see something, say something. And take action.

About the author

Fernando Borghese

Fernando Borghese is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest growing independent agency focused on performance marketing. In this role, Fernando is responsible the day to day leadership and management of the company, encompassing all lines of business. He has a successful track record of building high-performing teams that that deliver measurable impact for Digital Media Solutions and its award-winning vertical-specific brands within highly complex and competitive industries. Under his leadership, DMS has achieved incredible year-over-year growth, which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.