People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 51

a specific team member or even peer to peer. Other times, it is
best done in a team setting. Regardless, the key is to ensure that
follow-up occurs and that the team sees change and progress as
a result of their participation.
Best Practice 10: Conduct periodic debriefs that are "fit
for purpose." Conducting a one-off debrief is okay, but the
most value comes from conducting a series of them, allowing
the team to make small, continual adjustments so reflection,
discussion, and adaptation become part of the team's natural
rhythm. Unfortunately, the most common debrief we've seen
in corporate settings is a one-off and it occurs at the end of
a project. Sometimes it is referred to as a post-mortem. This
type of debrief can help surface a few lessons learned for
the future, but frankly if that is the only debrief you conduct
during the project, you've missed out on the opportunity to
make mid-course corrections.
There is no magical, perfect frequency with which to conduct
debriefs. In general, the more complex and dynamic the work
the team is performing, the greater the recommended debrief
frequency. Naturally, shorter debriefs can be conducted more
frequently than elaborate ones. For example, it can be beneficial
to quickly huddle up after any team presentation or at the end
of any team meeting and ask, what did we do well, what could
we do differently next time? That only takes five minutes.
For senior leadership teams (and other decision-making
teams), we highly recommend conducting the occasional "decision" debrief. Take a recent decision and discuss: a) what was
the decision (e.g., what led up to it), b) how did we make the
decision (e.g., who was involved, decision governance, information considered, speed of decision making, the way it was
communicated), c) what did we do well, d) what could we have
done differently in hindsight, and e) what does this mean for
our future decisions (e.g., lessons learned and agreements).
There are also times that lend themselves to slightly more
thorough debriefs. For example, the end of a project phase,
or after a "misstep" has occurred, are often great times for a

slightly deeper, 60-minute debrief discussion. One final tip:
if the only times you conduct debriefs are after something
went wrong, people will start associating debriefs with blaming
sessions, like being called to the principal's office as a child.
You'll want to avoid that.

Conclusion

Structured team debriefs are a simple, easy-to-use, but underutilized technique to improve teamwork behaviors. Your
organization is likely using teams on a regular basis. And
it is no fun being on a struggling team. By following the 10
science-based debriefing best practices noted above, you can
increase team effectiveness throughout your organization
from senior leadership teams to project teams to change
management to sales to manufacturing teams. We strongly
encourage you to give it a try.

This work was supported, in part, by research grants from the Ann
and John Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University.
Denise L. Reyes is a doctoral student at Rice University studying
Industrial/Organizational Psychology. She is a research fellow for
the Doerr Institute for New Leaders and can be reached at Denise.L.Reyes@rice.edu.
Scott I. Tannenbaum, Ph.D., is President of the Group for Organizational Effectiveness (gOE), a consulting and research firm he
co-founded in 1987. He received SIOP's 2018 Distinguished Professional Contributions Award and can be reached at scott.tannenbaum@groupoe.com.
Eduardo Salas, Ph.D., is the Allyn R. & Gladys M. Cline Chair Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Rice University.
He has co-authored over 450 journal articles and book chapters, has
co-edited 27 books, and received the 2016 APA Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Psychology. He can be reached at
Eduardo.Salas@rice.edu.

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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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