Beyond Crazy…

In this guest post Mark Miller explains how to stop banging your head against the wall and get the most out of failure.


I’m crazy – yes, I admit it – and my family, friends, and colleagues can all confirm it.

Like many leaders, I don’t live in the real world. We’re always pursuing and attempting to rally others to a future that does not yet exist. Our success is contingent on our ability to see what others do not see. I think that’s a really good kind of crazy! However, there is another form of crazy I want no part of:

Repeating the same activities and expecting different outcomes.

From my perspective, this is beyond crazy – it is certifiable insanity! The best leaders work diligently to avoid this situation.

Here’s one technique that may help you avoid this type of crazy: After-Action Reviews (AAR).


An AAR is a structured process in which participants evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and why. Football teams call it reviewing game footage, others a post-mortem, and some a project de-brief. It doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you do it. There’s much you can learn from these sessions if they are approached with sobriety, candor, and integrity. The entire group must be willing to face the truth.

After you’ve done your best to sort out facts from fiction, reasons from excuses, and ideas for improvement, you can create a plan to ensure your next attempt — whether it be a project, a performance, a presentation, or a sales pitch — will be better than the last.

Learn from the past – don’t live there.

You will not drift to success; discipline will be required. After-action reviews, executed consistently, can accelerate your journey.

Stay crazy!

What tips do you have for leading AAR’s?

What questions do you suggest for AAR’s?


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