While I was in the Army, we were always striving to improve our performance.
One of the things that I appreciated most about military life was that there were clear standards of what was required to be successful at any activity I was required to do as a soldier.
For example, physical fitness was to be an aspect of my daily life a soldier.
The first thing I did as a soldier was gathering with my fellow soldiers around 6 am to exercise.
We called this physical training or PT for short.
Twice a year I was required to take a PT test to gauge my physical fitness.
When I was in the Army, there were three components of the PT test as follows:
- Push-ups – I had two minutes to do as many push-ups as possible.
- Sit-ups – I had two minutes to do as many sit-ups as possible.
- Run – I had to run two miles in a certain amount of time.
I was given a certain number of points for each component of the PT test. There were 100 possible points for each part or a total of 300 points.
The minimum passing score for each component of the PT test was 70 points.
There were two possible options – Pass or Fail.
Life, in many regards, seemed much simpler when I was in the Army. I had a lot less responsibility back then.
Frequently, we were required to engage in an activity known as the After Action Review or AAR for short.
There are many acronyms in the Army if you had surmised yet.
The purpose of the After Action Review was to learn what went well and what could be improved.
During the After Action Review, the leader of my Army unit would ask everyone in the unit a few questions.
Here are some of the question that were asked:
- What went well?
- What could have been done better?
- What did we learn?
I was recently on a phone call last week with Scott Whitaker and he shared a quick lesson about four questions to ask after every event.
Here are the four questions he shared with me.
1. What went right? We need to celebrate what went right.
2. What went wrong? We need to correct what went wrong.
3. What was missing? We need to add that item to a to-do list.
4. What was confusing? We need to figure out how to make it clearer.
Then Scott went on to share that these four questions are important to ask regularly, no just after an event.
For instance, why not ask these four questions at the end of each week?
Getting feedback is a critical component of growing and making progress.
Without direct feedback, we keep doing the same thing over and over again, and we are relegated to getting the same results over and over again.