Team debriefs offer one of the most promising ways to enhance team effectiveness. A team debrief is a quick review of how a team or work group has handled a particular situation (e.g., projects, meetings, presentations, etc…). A debrief provides team members with the opportunity to discuss the situation, uncover any misunderstandings or performance gaps, and agree upon subsequent actions. Most teams do not conduct debriefs or only conduct an occasional informal discussion of how they are doing. Research reveals that these unstructured debriefs are not as effective at building team effectiveness as debriefs clearly focused on identifying and improving team coordination gaps. Studies of teams and work groups have demonstrated that well conducted debriefs can increase subsequent team performance by as much as 40%.
Team debriefs have been shown to lead to increased effectiveness with:
- Intact work teams such as senior leadership teams or department leadership teams
- Standing committees
- Flight crews
- Project teams or problem-solving teams
- Emergency room teams
- Work groups
- Military teams
The Team Effectiveness Accelerator is a website, funded by the Department of Defense, that can help you with your team debriefs: http://www.debriefnow.com/Login.aspx.
Other articles showing evidence-based practices for improving team performance can be found here.