People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 47

We partition what's needed into three main sections:
before, during, and after a team debrief, offering 10 best
practices from the research on debriefing.3 You'll find these
listed in Table 1. Along the way, we'll try to be clear about the
"must dos" and "nice to haves." In all, we hope to provide you
with the information needed to conduct effective debriefs and
make simple team debriefs a standard leadership practice in
your organization.

Before a Debrief

Prior to running a team debrief, there are a few conditions
that will greatly increase the likelihood of success.
Best Practice 1: Allocate time to debrief. What is the number one reason why debriefing fails to boost team effectiveness? It is because the leader simply didn't allocate time to
conduct it. Even if the leader is well-intended, we've noticed
that if time isn't scheduled, it won't happen spontaneously.
Admittedly, at first it requires a little discipline to commit to
doing periodic debriefs and putting them on the calendar.
But ideally, a team debrief shouldn't be a major event, just a
normal part of being on a team, like establishing an agenda
for a meeting or a charter for a project. Leaders who have
seen the benefit of periodically "investing" 30 minutes in team
debriefs build them into their standard leadership practices.

what went well and where improvements may be possible.
They reach agreements on specific adaptations they intend to
make and then they get back to work. In the course of doing
this, they often fill in team members' knowledge gaps ("I
didn't know that happened"); surface where they might need
additional support (which perhaps their leader can request);
and develop shared mental models about priorities, roles, or
what to do in certain situations ("if-then") in the future.
Yet, this quick and easy technique often goes unused. So,
the purpose of this article is to encourage you to conduct
team debriefs and to provide you with 10 scientific-based
guidelines, or best practices, on how to use them effectively. We also provide a short outline for leading a quick team
debrief. In other words, we share why you should conduct debriefs and provide ample information so you can implement
them properly.

Best Practice 2: Educate team leaders on how and why to
lead team debriefs. Team leaders are far more likely to conduct team debriefs, and to do so effectively, if they understand
their role in leading them, including some relatively straightforward dos and do nots that make a big difference (we highlight five of those below). It is also helpful for them to know
that a debrief doesn't take long and that research shows that
they improve team performance-so debriefing isn't some
"feel good" HR program, but rather just a solid leadership
practice.
With expanding spans of control, most leaders can't see
everything that is going on in their team. If team members
don't have a vehicle for sharing what they are seeing, the
leader and other team members are operating partially in the
dark. Periodic debriefs help turn on the light. We'd encourage you to provide a 30-minute educational module on how to
conduct a team debrief as part of your management development and project management training efforts. Much of the
content you'll need to assemble that module can be extracted
from this article.
Best Practice 3: Teach leaders and team members about
what really influences team effectiveness-the "science" of
teamwork. There is an increasingly clear body of research on
what really influences team effectiveness. For example, simply
"hanging out" together, while perhaps fun, will not address
team problems with role ambiguity, competing priorities, or a
failure to fill in for one another when needed. We've noticed
that when the leader has a clearer understanding about what
drives effective teamwork, such as appropriate communications, backup behavior, role clarity, and shared mental models, they tend to lead more constructive debrief conversations.
VOLUME 41 | ISSUE 2 | SPRING 2018

47



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2

From the Executive Editor
From the Guest Editor
Perspectives
Ignition Teams: Rising to the Challenges of Innovation
Challenge Accepted: Managing Polarities to Enhance Virtual Team Effectiveness
Facilitating Trust and Communication in Virtual Teams
Building Entrepreneurial Teams: Talent, Social Capital, and Culture
Organizations That Get Teamwork Right
Team Development: The Power of Debriefing
The Rise of Digital Team Building
Executive Roundtable
In First Person
Linking Theory + Practice
Insight into Action
Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover1
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover2
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 1
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 2
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 3
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - From the Executive Editor
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 5
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - From the Guest Editor
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 7
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Perspectives
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 9
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 10
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 11
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 12
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 13
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 14
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 15
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Ignition Teams: Rising to the Challenges of Innovation
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 17
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 18
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 19
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 20
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 21
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Challenge Accepted: Managing Polarities to Enhance Virtual Team Effectiveness
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 23
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 24
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 25
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 26
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 27
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 28
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 29
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Facilitating Trust and Communication in Virtual Teams
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 31
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 32
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 33
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 34
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 35
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Building Entrepreneurial Teams: Talent, Social Capital, and Culture
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 37
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 38
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 39
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 40
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 41
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Organizations That Get Teamwork Right
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 43
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 44
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 45
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Team Development: The Power of Debriefing
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 47
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 48
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 49
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 50
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 51
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - The Rise of Digital Team Building
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 53
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 54
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 55
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Executive Roundtable
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 57
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 58
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 59
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 60
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 61
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - In First Person
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 63
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 64
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 65
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Linking Theory + Practice
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 67
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 68
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 69
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Insight into Action
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 71
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 73
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 74
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover3
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover4
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