How to develop a debriefing strategy

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April 30, 2024

Sheri Spencer Bachman

Sheri Spencer Bachman

Regularly evaluating what works and what doesn’t on a monthly basis is essential for any business. The concept of debriefing, commonly employed by the military after every mission, has been adapted by businesses as a tool for achieving success in the future.

In short, are you running your business smoothly like a well-oiled machine, or are you constantly overwhelmed, dealing with one crisis after another? This is why debriefing is vital.

Debriefing tips, tools

Debriefing means meeting with your leadership team to discuss successes and issues in each department within your business. By identifying staffing, training, system process, marketing and departmental issues in these meetings, you’ll be able to tackle problems head-on, and change course when something isn’t working to expectations. The process is all about taking the time as a team to “reflect, rethink and revise” as needed.

There are software tools out there, such as Asana (Asana.com) or Trello (Trello.com), that can help you create a debriefing strategy that works for your team. Take a look at “The game plan” box at right for an example we created recently using Asana with a pest management firm client. I know this looks like a lot, but this comprehensive tracking enabled us to not only enhance current operations, but also anticipate challenges for the upcoming months based on past experiences. For instance:

  • Observing weather patterns (such as weeks of rain, excessive heat, or early or late snow) helped us anticipate issues for the following year.
  • Knowledge of insect pressures enabled us to adjust training for better outcomes.
  • Examining financial and sales data helped identify areas for growth and optimization.
  • Analyzing the systems in place allowed us to streamline processes and address inefficiencies, significantly enhancing operational efficiency.

Business success strategy

Perhaps the most significant advantage of monthly debriefs lies in their ability to inform planning. By looking back on past successes and failures, we can learn valuable lessons that help us update our strategies moving forward. This forward-thinking approach not only minimizes our risk of recurring issues, but also allows us to maximize opportunities.

Monthly debriefs serve as a roadmap for business success. It guides decision-making, fosters continuous improvement, and propels growth. By embracing this strategic approach to reflection, we can navigate the complexities of business with confidence and clarity. After all, knowledge truly is power.


Debriefing data points

For the example detailed in this column, we created a card within Asana for each month and recorded those monthly details. This gave us a historical resource that aided planning. Here’s what we tracked:

  • Marketing campaigns
  • Social media activity
  • Staffing levels
  • Weather impact: rain, heat, cold, snow, hurricanes
  • Insect pressures
  • Products used
  • New services added
  • Pricing
  • Financial performance
  • Growth metrics
  • Sales figures
  • Leads generated by marketing
  • Productivity levels
  • Customer cancellations
  • Callback rates
  • Smooth-running systems
  • Problematic systems

About the Author

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Spencer Bachman is a second-generation pest management professional, and owner of the Pest Control Business Coach consulting firm based in Canton, Ga. You can reach her at Sheri@PestControlBusinessCoach.com.

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