Ever get to the end of a project and think wow, that was awesome! Or man, that really sucked?
Beyond wondering, what process do you have in place to capture that information so you are sure to do it again next time? Or if it was something that totally sucked, how are you going to make sure it never happens again!?
I’ve got a nifty little process to help you capture that information so you keep the good stuff and uncover the crap so you can ditch it next time around.
The formal name for this thing is called a Lessons Learned. Informally I call it a debrief, a follow up, a what’s working meeting, or a pow-wow.
SIDE NOTE: If you come up with a better name for this thing I want to know!
So, what are Lessons Learned?
The Lessons Learned process helps a business owner and team uncover the actual causes of problems so you can avoid those things in the future. Or, like we said, if it is something you want to keep, you can make sure to keep doing it.
When you take the time to what’s working – or not – ala your Lessons Learned you increase your chances of:
- Keeping clients happy
- Building relationships in unexpected ways
- Learning things you didn’t know
- Identifying ways to do things so much better than you thought possible
- Keeping your sanity
- Keeping your team on your side
Often times, people are just moving along in their business or on a project and don’t take the time to stop and document what’s working and what’s not.
You know the quote from that brainiac named Einstein about doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results. It’s the definition of insanity!
If you are growing your business – or other areas of your life, the smart thing to do is to take time to assess and evaluate what’s working ala a Lessons Learned meeting. Even if it is a meeting with you, you favorite pen, and your journal.
Here are some examples of times when you may want to use this process:
#1) Working with a new client, implemented phase one of the project – Complete a Lessons Learned meeting to see what you should keep doing and what can be improved.
#2) Just wrapped up the biggest launch of your life (or your first launch, size matters not) – Pause to reflect ala the Lessons Learned process so you can do it better next time. Because you are better than business as usual, right? Right!
#3) Rolled out a new process or system, just went through it for the first time. It could be a new customer service process, a billing process, a blog post process, social media management… You get the idea. Complete Lessons Learned to make sure things were on budget, completed in time, and done right… And if they weren’t chat about what you need to change to get it just right going forward.
#4) Launched your website, you plan to continue to work with the design on a go forward basis to make updates and ensure consistency in design of your other materials. Complete a Lessons Learned because it is good for the relationship and so things go as smooth or better next time.
#5) Just took a week off in your business (like my babymoon) and you are planning to take two months off to travel or go on maternity leave later in the year (like I just did). Do a Lessons Learned on the small piece of the pie so when you go all in for months at a time you do it better.
Does this process work for my business and for my personal life too?
Heck yes, it does!!
Had a bad vacation with your boyfriend? Thanksgiving dinner is never ready on time? Can’t seem to get the kids out the door on time to save your life? Always overspending even though you have a budget that “should” work?
Whenever I think “I NEVER WANT THAT TO HAPPEN AGAIN,” you betchya, I’m doing a little Lessons Learned in my head!
Alright, alright, alright!!
I can’t help it. I just love Matthew.
Now that we’ve covered off on the importance of reviewing and capturing Lessons Learned, I’ve got a little template for you that gives you the structure for setting up your own Lessons Learned meeting. If you aren’t ready to bring your team into the fold on this just yet, taking yourself through this process is just as valuable as a starting point. I personally do it all of the time in my head as I self-coach myself to a better next time and continuous improvement.
Hop to it!!!
Grab your free Lessons Learned template here and start feeling business bliss once again!
What did we miss?
Do you think taking time to evaluate what went right or what went wrong is important? Tell us more in the comments or, better yet, share this baby!