I just finished reading a short book from the LIFE Leadership development system titled “Get Er Done – The Green Beret Guide To Productivity” by Michael Martel, a former Green Beret (as I would expect).
It is a short, easy-to-read book with a lot of good wisdom. One section in particular is titled “Who Are They To Judge.” I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was not a typical chapter on critics and how to deal with them, as I had originally assumed.
Have you ever attempted to do something and have been questioned by someone, probably negatively, why you would do that? Prior to your friend’s query, you probably spent time in thought and prayer, studied the potential reward and consequences, acquired special insight and information and, with all positive intentions, decided to move forward and then, WHAM! You get hit with seemingly unwarranted criticism, rejection and negativity.
In sports, it happens all the time. I’m guilty of the “Monday morning quarterback” discussions around the break table. How come they did this or that? Why didn’t he see the open receiver down field?… Idiots!!!
Martel helps the reader look at these situations differently. I was surprised to learn how the Green Beret approach correction. First of all, they live by the saying “Who are they to judge us?” At first, it seemed as another defensive reaction to avoid the judgement and criticism of others. Yet as they see it, they don’t listen to the critics on the “outside” because those outside critics might not realize all that went into their decision making. The research, obstacles, training, and difficulty that went into their actions may be unrecognized. To sum it up, people on the “outside” may not see it from your perspective, just like my quarterback criticisms weren’t from a guy running for his life with a 330lb lineman trying to rip off his head. Correction and encouragement comes best from within and from your team.
You and your team (business, home, sports) need to learn how to become self-correcting in a truthful, honest and positive way. The Green Beret have a process of reviewing every attempted game plan called After Action Review (AAR). It goes something like this:
Every team has a leader that accepts the responsibility of preparing his team and is accountable to each team member. In the home, it is Dad and Mom. In the work place, it’s the CEO, president or team lead, etc. At the end of each day, the leader reviews the different goals he set out to accomplish, what went well and what didn’t.
An AAR can be done individually or as a team. An AAR is not a blame session but a time to analyze and improve your decision making and that of your team.
Martel focuses on 4 questions which I will summarize and paraphrase below:
1) What was planned?
- What was the goal, game plan and process? Did you identify potential barriers? What were your resources? This is a chance for each member to share their understanding of what was expected which will help you determine how well the objective was communicated. As an ordinary example, I have laid out a game plan at home that I wanted the lawn cut, only to find at the end of the day it didn’t get done. My normal response was to yell and have a fit. What I found out was the kids didn’t realize I wanted it done today because I failed to verbalize that even though in my mind it was intuitive.
2) What really happened?
- Be honest and just stick to the facts and stay positive. It’s not a time to blame or explain why things happened; it’s about understanding the events that did happen and how each member interpreted the events. The same event can be perceived very differently and the group can learn a lot from the feedback. Again, stay positive and avoid over-analyzing the negative. This isn’t about beating yourself up, so avoid minutiae, especially with the negative events.
3) Why did it happen?
- Stay away from blame! Talk about the positive and negative results, but focus on what went well. Reinforcing positive behaviors and events will fuel future success, where as focusing on just the negative and the minutiae will eventually drain the effectiveness of the process.
4) What can I do to get better next time?
- What resources are available to help you improve? Identify and get rid of the habits and actions that led to failure and focus on your successes.
The AAR process is quite simple and I really appreciate how the process can be applied to every area of our lives. Enjoy reading the book! I hope this brief summary helps you to become more effective in reviewing your own progress and results and aids you in ultimately becoming more successful in accomplishing your goals. God speed on your journey and get er done!
Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
For on the same way you judge others, you will be judged,
and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.