Adapting to the pandemic through honest reflection and planning 

The past months have tested communicators and emergency response teams like never before.

Maybe you manage frontline communicators who have had to post life-and-death updates every day. Perhaps you’re leading on internal communications and planning for redundancy issues, or managing a large site where staff and customer safety has changed dramatically.

You and your team – like many of those we’re working with – are probably exhausted from this draining and painful period. But, now is the time for honest and structured reflection. 

Why? So that you can plot a path forward, safe in knowledge that you can replicate and build on the things you’ve done well, and the same mistakes won’t be made again.

We’re working with clients to deliver virtual After Action Review workshops. These help them to:

  • Identify the changes they need to make to risk registers, structures and responsibilities
  • Plan for new skills and capability
  • Get ready for organisational changes

We’re trusted partners to our clients.  This gives us a unique opportunity to guide teams through reflection and evaluation that might otherwise feel awkward or difficult. And to do it before valuable experience and knowledge fades.

These are the key elements for a constructive, honest, review: 

1. Make time for a ‘retro’

Before you can plan a way forward, you need to look back. This could be a simple as asking What worked well? What could have been better? Perhaps structured around key objectives or assessing different communications channels. As part of our preparation for a workshop, we’ll do our own in-depth analysis of a team’s performance using a range of benchmarking criteria, before then asking them to evaluate themselves. 

What’s key is to create an environment in which your team feels that it can give an open and honest assessment. This is easiest with some independent facilitation.

2. Test future scenarios

Traditionally, crisis retros move straight from the review to forward planning stages. We use our private, interactive Social Simulator to give the client team an opportunity to apply their lessons learned and start to think about what they would need to do differently next time. This simulation provides an effective bridge between the ‘what worked’ and ‘what didn’t’ and means you can move forward having tested ideas in a realistic environment.

Once you’ve identified what worked, what didn’t and what needs to do be done differently, it’s easier to devise an action plan for change and recovery. 

3. Put lessons learned into practice

This is the key output from any retro workshop. Knowing your vulnerabilities is useful, but you need a detailed action plan to ensure that you can implement change. 

Your action plan should be:

  • As specific as possible. Don’t settle for phrases such as ‘shorten approvals process’. Break this down into the individual actions required to achieve this outcome
  • Realistic. Actions that can be delivered within the existing resources you have available. 
  • Prioritise activities. Not everything can be top of the list – we’ll help you work out what needs to happen right now, and next.

2020 has already been a very busy year for communicators, now is the time to learn from what you and others have experienced, ready for whatever comes next.

Get in touch if you would like to find out more about our After Action Review Workshops.