Risks and unexpected occurrences are part and parcel of the business environment. Therefore, a debriefing meeting can form a large part of mitigate risk. Businesses ought to remain stead fast in identifying, assessing, and tackling the various risks surrounding their operations, location, and industry. Although most businesses manage to mitigate some risks, there are emergency incidences that strike without imminent knowledge or expectation.

This could be a major blow to any business in terms of distracted operations. Furthermore, demoralized employees, and increased confusion among loyal clients. The last thing any business would want is losing valuable clients who keep the business running due to ignorance and inadequate strategy implementation. 

Finding clarity and identification

Debriefing is, therefore, an important exercise since it aims at bringing everything back to normalcy. An effective way to respond to a post-emergency business crisis is through debriefing. This strategy aims at educating, improving and bringing an understanding of how human factors affect business operations.

Debriefing is not similar to counseling since it occurs after the victims have had enough time to absorb the experience. It is also voluntary and aims at finding clarity of the incident, understanding the probable cause to allow for the recovery process.

The reason why it is seen as a learning experience is that it puts everything into context and perspective. Every minute detail is put into consideration, and alternative actions are discussed, which might have brought a positive or more desirable outcome. 

Some of the issues that debriefing aims at shining light on include:

  +  Personal experiences.

  +  Lasting impressions and memories.

  +  The series of events.

  +  Discovering any psychological reactions.

  +  Ways if managing emotional response triggered by emergency responses.





Rules of Debriefing


As we all know, human is to err, and everyone in the management must acknowledge their mistakes. This phase is important in debriefing as it helps realise the mistakes done in a tragic event.

The top management should take the blame first since they head all the operations and are responsible for what happens to the business. Maintaining relevant in the industry takes humility and acknowledgment. Debriefing is necessary since it narrows down the human error and reduces the possibility for a similar mistake re-occurrence. 

It doesn’t make sense repeating a mistake over and over again. It implies that there is some management deficiencies and in competencies since emergency events should be a wake-up call to any business.

Debriefing gives your business a second chance to act right in case of an emergency. This is done by by familiarising with previous mistakes and finding realistic ways of solving similar situations. Consider the whole teamwork performance, give credit where its due, and criticize constructively while going through the entire business operation.

The Leader’s Role

Debriefing requires a facilitator who is seen as a leader to oversee the whole process. Tailboard debrief is a post-emergency response which gives the chief officer the duty to conduct the procedure. More complex procedures that need post-incident analysis and review require a third party that is not directly involved in the company.

It helps bring a neutral ground and the whole process is conducted fairly. It would be crucial to have an unbiased party who can lead a discussion by sticking to the agenda. 

The right facilitator works hard by keeping the expectations high and providing a safe platform to hold a discussion. To have a successful debriefing, the facilitators should also regulate the discussion by checking and staying between the boundaries of the discussion.



Debriefing Tactics

Debriefing meeting needs to be straight and concise to avoid creating misunderstandings that make it hard to deliberate over the issue.

Dissecting the whole agenda requires proper analysis and procedure which should be guided by the following:

  +  What transpired? +  How did it happen?
+  Was there an alternative action which could have had a positive outcome? +  Do not blame individuals but blame their actions since its a learning and enlightenment process that aims at nullifying any future possibilities for the recurrence a similar mistake.

Analyze the Execution

Finally, one of the hardest phases of debriefing is having the crew determine the probable cause. Having the members come up with different solutions for mistakes done in a business operation indicates their willingness to grow and leave the past behind. Having a team that acknowledges their faults and comes up with formidable solutions. Which indicates a determination to handle an emergency case in a more precise and keen manner. Finally, the key to teamwork is effective communication which reduces any conflict of interest and promotes unity in solving emergency issues.


By Ken Walker

Hi, I'm Ken. I am the owner and senior director of Syncretic training Group Pty Ltd. If you have any questions about the website content or require guidance please let us know we are always happy to help.

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